Directed by: Ace Jordan
Cast: Donny Boaz, Rebecca Summers, Danilo Di Julio
Ace Jordan’s camp slasher (basically) doesn’t attempt to be inventive or shocking, rather it operates as a safe vehicle, choosing to trek through all the horror tropes that fans have come to recognize over the years while deviating from unexplored and potentially risky maneuvers. Is that a terrible thing? No. But sometimes playing it safe means the chance at ingenuity is immediately abolished. While I didn’t dislike Silent Retreat, I wasn’t crazy about it, either. Simply put: We’ve all seen this by-the-numbers kind of film before – maybe under a Friday the 13th title, maybe under one of the countless others of similar ilk – and that drags the production down a tad bit.
Jordan’s style shows big promise, and he (along with Miles Smith) clearly has a lot of talent in the editing realm. Those are nice pluses of the film. It suffers from the limitations and obstacles generated by small budgets, but the cast dump what they have into the creative process, and that too, is a respectable plus.
The greatest pitfalls of the film are an uneven pace, a few wooden performances and a lack of a welcomed intimidating masked lunatic. It’s no spoiler to tell you that a group on a rural retreat are going to be knocked off in violent fashion (the title alone kind of gives that away), but the revelation that we don’t get a slick killer in an inspired getup does come across as something of a spoiler. The big baddie is expected in this type of film, and he’s expected to be terrifying. But what we actually get from this picture is a little underwhelming.
For a slow Saturday night, Silent Retreat makes for a fair little viewing. You probably won’t leap to purchase the picture, and you may not remember it too well just a week after you see it, but for silly, brainless genre thrills, Silent Retreat is an adequate time killer. I’m still missing that menacing monster and all the gore that should have been featured in the film but wasn’t (to be fair, there are a few gnarly gags in the latter portions of the film), but that’s okay. My Silent Retreat experience was mildly entertaining and kept me up through a painstakingly slow evening.