Starring: Steve Adams, Jason Deline, Michael Fairman, Ryan Kwanten,
Laura Regan, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg
Directed by: James Wan
Story: A widower returns to his hometown to search for answers to his
I don't think there's anything creepier than dolls that have a life of their
own. Movies like Childs Play, Puppet Master and Dolls scared me as a kid. I
couldn't bare to look at an antique doll for a long time. Luckily, Universal
brings us yet another doll related horror film. Dead Silence is a movie from
the creators of the Saw; James Wan and Leigh Whannell. Saw was easily
one of my favorite horror movies of 2004. Knowing that both Wan and
Whannell would be making another movie together, I was anxious to see
what they would come up with. More importantly, I just wanted to a good
R rated horror movie. Luckily, the Saw duo doesn't disappoint. Dead
Silence is an enjoyable movie. Maybe I didn't like it as much as I wanted to,
but it was still worth it. I was pretty hyped up to see it anyway. It has its
ups and downs, much like any other movie. Bottom line, it was
entertaining, and that's all that really matters.
This gothic supernatural tale mostly takes place in the sleepy town of
Ravens Fair. The story is about Mary Shaw, a ventriloquist who went mad
after having been silenced during a show. Accused of the murder of a
young boy, she was hunted down by vengeful townsfolk. The group cut
out her tongue and killed her. For her burial, Shaw herself became a
dummy and was buried along with her collection of hand-made vaudeville
dolls (all 101 to be exact). Since that time, Ravens Fair has been plagued
by death. People who see Mary Shaw and scream never live to tell the tale.
Each of the victims lose their tongues; very similar to that of Mary Shaw's
own death. The ghastly dolls from Mary Shaw’s collection have gone
missing from the graves.
Far from the old town, we then follow newlyweds Jamie (Ryan Kwanten)
and Lisa Ashen. Just when they had established a fresh start, things turn
for the worst when they receive an unmarked package. The package
contained an old ventriloquist dummy. When Jamie returns home after
getting food, he finds his wife dead in their bedroom. After the brutal
discovery, Jamie is harassed by a cop who claims that he is the number one
suspect. Nobody believes Jamie's story about hearing his wife talk to him;
all while she was dead. Jamie reluctantly returns to Ravens Fair for the
funeral, intent on unraveling the mystery of his wife's murder. Once
reunited with his ill father and his father’s new young bride, Jamie digs into
the town's past to find out who killed his wife and why.
As I mentioned early on in my review, I did enjoy this movie. However, it
wont be everyone's cup of tea. The film makers did an excellent job with
the look and feel of the movie. Dead Silence opens with the old Universal
logo and the opening credits rarely see color. This sells the movie's old
fashion look. Dead Silence is just that, it's an old fashioned movie. Even so
that the pacing is very reminiscent of the old black and white era. I grew up
watching old movies so the pace was no problem for me. Others however
may find it hard to cope with. Audiences with low attention pans will find
themselves bored. So if you're one of those movie goers who are into
faster and more intense movies, then Dead Silence isn't for you. Especially
if you're afraid of dolls; Dead Silence features a large cast of moving
dummies. If movies about possessed dolls scare you, then you'll have
loads of fun seeing this one.
James Wan's sophomore effort is a memorable one. What I didn't like so
much though was the writing. Some of the dialog in Dead Silence was too
much, and at times felt it repetitive. Not to mention the story isn't all that
original. Luckily, it doesn't ruin the film. Now that I think about it, Dead
Silence isn't a movie aiming to tell a great story. Like I said it's not really
original anyway. The purpose of Dead Silence is to scare the audience. The
scenes with the dolls and the ghost of Mary Shaw are played out well. You
know something scary is about happen when the background noises
become silent. When the sound goes missing, the real horror begins. It's a
mixed bag of entertainment. Some of it is scary and some of it isn't. Most
of it however is down right creepy. Dead Silence goes for traditional scares
rather than cheap ones as presented in your typical "PG-13 remake of an
Asian horror film."
This isn't the Grudge 2 folks. Sure they're both supernatural horror
movies, but Dead Silence has one thing that the other doesn't, CONTENT.
Seeing a "good" R rated horror film was a fresh breath of air for me. Some
scenes in Dead Silence are pretty graphic. From what I've been told, the
uncut version of the movie runs in at 107 minutes. The theatrical cut
presented in theatres runs at 98 minutes. This may be because of the
content, I'm not exactly sure about that. Dead Silence is a good movie, it's
definitely something I would recommend for certain people to watch.
Especially if you have a fear for dolls and clowns. I liked the story and I
loved the score, but most of all I loved the performance from Donnie
Wahlberg. He plays the Detective who harasses the main character. He also
seems to have a facial hair problem for he shaves through most of the
Much like Wan's previous film, Dead Silence also has its fair share of twists.
The final twist at the end does seem to make sense, but it comes out of
nowhere. I didn't expect the movie to have a twist, so that was a huge
surprise for me. Speaking of surprises, there is a small cameo in the movie.
I'm sure we're all aware that the main doll in Dead Silence is named "Billy."
Well, there's another Billy that makes an appearance in the movie. That
Billy just so happens to be the Jigsaw Puppet from the Saw movies. There
is a scene near the end of the film where in the attic of the theater, Billy the
Jigsaw Puppet is shown briefly. Overall, I thought Dead Silence was a pretty
good film. It's not a "great" movie, but it's a lot better than most of the
horror films that have come out so far this year.
Genres: Horror, Mystery,
Runtime: 90 minutes
Online since: February 20th, 2006
Review done by: Nightmare Child