Dead Silence (2007)
Directed by James Wan

Starring Cody Arens Jason Deline Keir Gilchrist Michael Fairman Ryan Kwanten Steve Adams

Feeling like a cross between a slow "Child's Play" and a survival horror video game like "Silent Hill," "Dead Silence" isn't as good as "Saw," which was written and directed by the same team of Leigh Wannell and James Wan. It just doesn't deliver the same amount of twists and turns. The film has its fans and defenders, most of whom claim it's the best ventriloquist dummy horror movie of all time. But "Dead Silence" isn't quite as good as Stuart Gordon's "Dolls" a movie it clearly borrows from. It also doesn't come close to the greatness of the black-and-white gem "The Devil Doll" or the original "Twilight Zone" dummy episode. 'Course those came out a long, long, long time ago.

What it feels like is something written for a videogame. It opens strong, with beautiful "They" actress Laura Regan getting offed by a possessed, somewhat creepy-looking doll she receives in the mail. Her husband finds her, and it's left to him to uncover the mystery of her supernatural death after local police suspect him of killing her. (Regan is quite gorgeous and has horror-movie looks. Hopefully, she'll make a lot more of these.)

Like the videogame character of "Silent Hill," he heads to an abandoned town where his family grew up. Local legend has it the town is cursed by the spirit of Mary Shaw, an old woman ventriloquist that operated there in the 1940s. She apparently killed a local boy who made fun of her act before dying herself. She was buried along with 100 of her "children" a bunch of spooky looking dolls, including her ventriloquist dummy. The local poem around town goes:

Beware the stare of Mary Shaw
She had no children, only dolls
And if you see her, do not scream
Or she'll rip your tongue out at the seam.

The dolls have a habit of disappearing from their graves before townsfolk are killed off by a mysterious spirit that rips their mouths open so they look like dummies. It's enough to make you wonder why a talk show somewhere never jumped on the story.

Throwing in some "Nightmare on Elm Street" in the mix along with Gordon's "Dolls," "Stay Alive," and "Silent Hill," "Dead Silence" doesn't quite gel. There are some nice scary doll moments, lots of scenes where we see dolls' eyes move and a "Darkness Falls"-like apparition that rips the tongues out of people. The "Dead Silence" of the title refers to the way silence overtakes the characters when the spirit starts exercising her powers. But the characters are too flat and the pace too slow to make the film memorable.

Nice ending though. "Dead Silence" is a decent film, somewhat better than direct-to-video fare, but a real disappointment considering the talent that produced it.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


Posted by Keith A. on April 16, 2008
"Magic" is the best ventriloquist dummy horror movie of all time.


Posted by JK on April 23, 2008
This film sucked- very disappointing after SAW- no tesion.


Posted by Jim on May 6, 2008
umm... this movie's nothing like SAW - why would you compare it to that? Because the same guys made it? It's going for a completely different type of scare... and SAW wasn't even scary??


Posted by ddp & kay on June 3, 2008
sooo scary scariest movie ever


Posted by Greg H. on June 12, 2008
One of the dumber movies I've seen.


Posted by Paleshadow on June 30, 2009
Incomplete mixture of mystery and adventure, a superb direction of art that it dyes of blue all the takings and emphasizing the red one. Imaginative and visually superb.


Posted by Rieyadh on July 19, 2009
It is not like a classic but it has its own taste, the imagination is too good also the back-ground music, but the movie falls at the non-acceptable mystery solution. On the whole its good & not deserve the "R" rating.


Posted by justin on April 29, 2011
the scariest movie i have ever seen.Saw was no where near as scary as this movie!!!


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