Dead Silence

MPAA Rated – Unrated
It’s 1:30 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Dead Silence
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Donnie Wahlberg, Amber Valletta, Ryan Kwanten, Laura Regan, Judith Roberts
MPAA Rated: Unrated
Released By: Universal Pictures
Release Date: 2007
Kiddie Movie: Only if you want them to have nightmares about dummies.
Date Movie: Good for the both of you to snuggle to.
Gratuitous Sex: Would have added a star, especially in an unrated version.
Gratuitous Violence: Tongues get torn out, there’s blood, and people die.
Action: Some running and chasing.
Laughs: Nothing really.
Memorable Scene: I did like Jamie’s dad, all the way through the end.
Memorable Quote: None
Directed By: James Wan

I hate to start a review with a rant sometimes, but for “Dead Silence” a rant, I believe, is necessary, and this rant has to do with the folks who marketed the film when it first was hitting theaters, and even those marketing the film now coming out on DVD. The trailer for “Dead Silence” simply started with “From the writers and directors of ‘Saw’” and that, for me, says expect a lot of gore, blood, twisted-ness, and over-the-top horror fun. The DVD states “New Unrated Version. More Gruesome and Horrifying Than Anything Seen in Theaters.” The problem is that the movie isn’t more gruesome and horrifying than anything seen in theaters, and it doesn’t come close to the level of over-the-top, yet fun, gore as seen in “Saw.” Nope, “Dead Silence” is actually a decent thriller, with some nice twists and some horror gore (but no nudity, bummer), and I probably would have seen it in theaters when it first came out if they just marketed it as a horror/thriller and ignored the then “reputation” of “Saw.” I also would have liked my first viewing of the DVD if I weren’t waiting, for an hour and a half of watching, for more gruesomeness, horrifying-ness, and “Saw”-ness, instead of just wrapping myself into the story and thriller-ness of it.

Enough ranting, here’s the story.

It seems that in the town of Ravens Fair there is an old story about a ventriloquist lady, Mary Shaw (Judith Roberts), who haunts the locals. She never had any kids, only dolls, and if you saw her in your dreams you shouldn’t scream because she would tear out your tongue. Jamie (Ryan Kwanten) comes from Ravens Fair but has moved out of town with his wife Lisa (Laura Regan). One day a ventriloquist dummy gets delivered to his doorstep, Lisa ends up dead – sans tongue, Detective Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg) thinks Jamie killed her, and Jamie is heading back to the old homestead to bury his wife, investigate her murder, and confront his dad, Edward (Bob Gunton). He finds that pop has a new wife, Ella (Amber Valleta), is being trailed by the good Detective, and things are getting more twisted in his hometown. Dummies have been exhumed, the funeral director’s wife seems crazy, there are flashbacks to the downfall of Mary Shaw, her death, and the actual story of why Mary Shaw’s spirit is taking revenge on the town comes to light. In the end Jamie finds some secrets he might have done better without learning.

I’d go more into the story, but there isn’t a reason to. Most people find ventriloquist dummies kind of creepy to begin with, so them going on a killing rampage in a horror flick isn’t a surprise. Hell, most of us find ventriloquists a little creepy so them going on a rampage in a horror flick wouldn’t be a surprise, either, and “Dead Silence” builds on our general creepiness of ventriloquists and their dummies. The problem I had was because the way the film was marketed I really expected an over-the-top horror flick, with ghastly, brutal killings, rather than just the thriller it was. Sure, there were some twists and turns at the end, one which was totally obvious from the get-go, another I was surprised I missed, but for most of us who have grown up with the horror genre, “Dead Silence” is actually a better thriller than a horror/gore fest.

If you find ventriloquists and their dummies creepy, and you’re looking for a movie to snuggle with your honey on an evening, “Dead Silence” really wouldn’t be that bad a choice. There are some slow points, but most thrillers have them, and some of the killings won’t really be a surprise, but some killings aren’t always a surprise in most thrillers anyway. I give “Dead Silence” 3 stars out of 5. It’s not the most original of flicks but has its moments. Ignore the marketing because if you are anywhere between 17 and 50 years old, growing up between “Friday the 13th” through the “Scream” series and beyond, it’s not more gruesome nor horrifying than anything seen in theaters. Just enjoy the thriller for what it is, a thriller about creepy dummies with some moments of tearing out tongues.

As far as the extras on the DVD go, I found it funny because I actually thought the alternate opening would have been a better one then giving me the historical origins of the word “ventriloquist,” the deleted scenes were fine being deleted, it was interesting seeing how the film folks found a great choice for Mary Shaw, but maybe the marketing folks should have watched “The Making of ‘Dead Silence’” part that shows “Dead Silence” is really a tip of the hat to old-time horror flicks and not just a gore-fest, nor meant to be that gruesome nor horrifying, just thrilling.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!