Silent Retreat (2013) – or – Descent in the woods

Silent Retreat reviewJaney (Chelsea Jenish) is a young woman sent to a silent retreat for rehabilitation. Run by a rather menacing doctor (Robert Nolan), things just don’t seem right. Accepting only five people at a time, nobody at the retreat is allowed to speak, read, or listen to music. Silence is incredibly important, but not just for the rehabilitation. Something sinister is going on, and those who refuse to cooperate are taken into the woods, and never heard from again. Janey must now figure out the mystery of the retreat, as well as try to escape with the help of Alexis (Sofia Banzhaf), who she meets in rehabilitation.

Director Tricia Lee builds an interesting film with Silent Retreat, but runs into problems by trying to combine two very different genres into one film. Part psychological thriller, and part monster movie, each aspect of the movie works well on its own, but not together. It’s a shame, because either storyline would have been incredible to watch as a separate film.

Performances are well done, but it’s Robert Nolan (Familiar) who steals the show. He’s always an incredibly creepy presence, and his turn as the doctor is frequently chilling. Things become even more uncomfortable when his plan is revealed, and Nolan does outstanding work.

Overall, Silent Retreat is a solid film, it’s just too bad it’s trying to be two solid films at the same time. It still works, and has some incredibly bloody moments towards the end, but there’s a better film lying at the heart of this one.

Should You Watch Silent Retreat?

It’s not perfect, but it’s still worth watching, if just for the performance of Robert Nolan.

Silent Retreat Trailer

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