Directed by: James Wan
Stars: Ryan Kwanten, Donnie Wahlberg, & Judith Roberts
Rated R for horror violence and images
Beware the stare of Mary Shaw,
she had no children, only dolls.
And if you see her in your dreams,
be sure you never ever scream...
From the producers of Saw, I bring you Dead Silence, a classic horror film catering to a modern audience. Wow, that sounded professional, didn't it?
The plot is fairly simple: A widower returns to his hometown to find the answer to his wife's murder, which may be linked to the local legend of a murdered ventriloquist.
Of course, Jamie (Kwanten) is a suspect in his own wife's murder, which leads to a smart ass detective (Wahlberg) following him around and providing plenty of cynical commentary. And the murdered ventriloquist is this creepy old lady who had been buried with her collection of 101 dolls in 1941, and who if you see her, will rip out your tongue if you scream. Add in a couple of fearful old men, a crazy lady carrying around a dead bird, and a camera filter bleaching out every color besides blood red, and you got yourself a horror movie.
This film is decidedly less bloody than the Saw franchise, but still maintains a similar feel. Short takes, lots of hanging questions, and one hell of a twist at the end. The background music and sounds are what truly contribute to the fear factor--in fact, the music is very very similar to the Saw tracks. One twist in the fabric of sound is silence. The movie plays on the basic human fear of dead silence. Think about it, why do you turn on the TV when you first get home? Why do you turn on a fan when you go to sleep? Sound is comforting; it reminds us that we're not alone. Perfect silence makes us feel uncomfortable, and the film exploits this.
There's a lot of reflection on classic horror movie elements. You get the local legend plot line, the strained father-son relationship, a disbelieving cop, a "we don't talk about that" townie attitude, lots of shadow play, and a murdered soul hankering for revenge. I have to say the dolls are really creepy, and will make you wary to be in a dark room with one alone.
This movie does have more of a scare factor than the Saw series does. Saw is more "could this really happen?" scary, while Dead Silence is more like jump in your seat scary. The acting isn't great and the plotline isn't truly original, but if your looking for a good horror flick with cheap thrills, this is the film for you.
For more info, check out the IMDb page http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455760/