Director: James Wan
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Producers: Mark Burg/Oren Koules/Gregg Hoffman
Starring: Ryan Kwanten/Donnie Wahlberg/Judith Roberts
BBFC Certification: 15
Duration: 94 minutes
The people that brought you Saw decided to take a break from gruesome scenes of torture and body parts flying here, there and everywhere and make a thriller movie about a killer ventriloquist’s spirit named Mary Shaw. The story opens with couple Jamie and Lisa Ashen finding a mysterious package that had been delivered to them outside their doorstep. When Jamie and Lisa open the package, they find that it’s a ventriloquist’s dummy. When Jamie leaves the house, Lisa is brutally murdered and Jamie is the number one suspect. Jamie, however, thinks that the person who delivered the spooky puppet either knows who the real murderer is or was somehow involved in it. Dead Silence’s story isn’t bad at all, actually, I thought it was quite good. It constantly kept you on the edge of your seat and you couldn’t wait to know what happened next, however, the downside to the story is that, even though you couldn’t wait to know what happened next, you knew it was going to happen. It’s very predictable in some scenes however there were a few good scares and there were a couple of scenes I didn’t see coming so I can’t say it’s 100% predictable. The characters were mediocre but they could have been better, you didn’t really see the characters grow or you didn’t see any kind of development, however you do care for Jamie and you want his name to be cleared. You also weirdly love the villain of Dead Silence, Mary Shaw. You don’t condone what she does in the movie but y0u can’t help but feel sorry for her and you can’t help but think that she possibly deserves a place among the great horror legends such as Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers and Chucky. Mary Shaw’s story might be predictable and a little cliché but giving credit where it’s due, it was done well and was a little fun.
Ryan Kwanten, who plays our hero Jamie Ashen, gave out a great performance as well as Donnie Wahlberg, who plays the annoying Detective Lipton but the person who steals the show is, without a doubt, Judith Roberts, who plays the evil Mary Shaw. Her performance was believable as the demented ventriloquist and often quite frightening. However, even though the acting was very good in the movie, the dialogue could have been written better. Sometimes it was good but half of the time, it was either cheesy, cliché or just weak. Dead Silence may have been creepy fun and scary at times but it’s way too familiar to stand out from the crowd and it doesn’t really succeed in rebooting the killer-doll genre. At first, it shocks but about thirty minutes into the movie, it slowly starts to become same-old, same-old. It uses quite a few clichés from horror movies too; the children’s nursery rhyme that tells you how to stay alive, the spirit’s curse, a family paying for the sins of their fathers, the creepy child-like theme tune and a memorable line: “Whatever you do…don’t scream!”. Even though I didn’t see the twist ending coming at the last minute, most of the movie was predictable yet fun.
Avoid this if you don’t like creepy killer dolls but if you want a one-off thriller, I would suggest this to you. It’s better than The Collector but it doesn’t quite beat Saw. My only fear for Dead Silence is that this will turn into the Saw series and we’ll see six sequels in the near future. Dead Silence is a fun yet scary movie and if you’re a fan of Saw, watch out for a familiar face in the movie. Also, if you have the unrated version of the DVD, watch the alternate opening and ending!