The Scariest Things: ‘The Silence of the Lambs’

Assistant Opinion Editor Jula Utzschneider writes that despite a slow start, The Silence of the Lambs makes for a great suspenseful psychological-thriller.

Courtesy Netflix

Assistant Opinion Editor Jula Utzschneider writes that despite a slow start, ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ makes for a great suspenseful psychological-thriller.

Jula Utzschneider, Assistant Opinion Editor

Hello everyone! This week, I watched “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), a psychological thriller based on the book by Thomas Harris. 

This movie follows 27 year old Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), one of the top FBI trainees at the academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn), the head of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Services, wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a clever psychiatrist turned psychopath who is in prison for life for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes Lecter might have insight into a new case involving a serial killer nicknamed Buffalo Bill. These interviews lead to constant mind games by Lecter, challenging the abilities Starling thought she had.

Without further ado, let’s start the review.

Fright Factor: How scary is the movie? 

Rating: 8/10

This movie is very scary, but not in the usual jump-scare way that many horror movies tend to be.  However, there are some scenes where the murders are shown, which may be difficult to see for people with a fear of blood. It gravitates more towards a psychological-thriller side of the spectrum, which in my opinion, tends to be scarier. Although the beginning was slightly dull, an intense level of suspense is created as the plot progresses, especially in the last few scenes where Clarice is in Buffalo Bill’s house.

Plot: Is the storyline/script interesting?

Rating: 7/10

Although the storyline is fairly simple, it is very interesting. The plot mainly revolves around the need to catch Buffalo Bill, a murderer who abducts bigger women, kills them and uses their skin to make a “woman suit.” I also found the script interesting, because at the beginning Hannibal Lecter seemed like he is in charge of their meetings and tries to get under Clarice’s skin. But, as the movie goes on, Clarice gains more confidence and their dynamic shifts, which can be seen through their conversations.

Quality: How well is it produced? How good is the acting?

Rating: 8/10

“The Silence of the Lambs” is produced very well, especially in the setting of some of the scenes. My personal favorite setting, which seems like the most well-crafted and representative of the character, is Buffalo Bill’s house. His home contains bug-filled rooms and it’s extremely dirty and cluttered by his makeup and various clothes. It’s a twisted and creepy setting for one of the most important, and scary, scenes of the movie. In addition to this, the acting is fantastic, and both Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins won the Oscars for Best Actress and Best Actor for this film. Hopkins, who plays Hannibal Lecter, gives an exceptionally chilling performance, particularly in the scene where he is talking to Clarice in his dark cell, so she cannot see him. His performance is especially creepy at this point, considering Clarice had just discovered a head in a storage container he had sent her to and was already on edge.

Entertaining: How fun is it to watch?

Rating: 9/10

This movie wasn’t necessarily fun to watch, because I spent a good portion of the last half hour of the movie paralyzed with fear, but it was certainly a memorable time. I especially liked it because the movie keeps the viewer’s attention without resorting to cheesy remarks or jump-scares. 

Overall Rating: 8/10

Despite its slow-paced beginning, the suspense created through the rest of the movie made it completely worthwhile. And, even after watching the movie for a second time I still felt engaged by the plot. Although “The Silence of the Lambs” might give you nightmares, I would highly recommend this electrifying movie.

Have a frightful Friday everyone, and be sure to come back on November 27 for my review of “Scream.”