Billy in Dead Silence
inevitably recalls other possessed dolls such as those in Devil Doll
, but he is an entertaining dummy nonetheless. As a variation on evil-doll films like Child's Play
or Puppet Master, Dead Silence
stars a dummy who isn't a killer himself but a vehicle for a vengeful ghost. Previously owned by Mary Shaw, a ventiloquist who was murdered by local Ravens Hill villagers for kidnapping a boy to turn him into a human puppet, Billy houses Mary Shaw's spirit while she gets revenge on all those who killed her. Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) unravels Billy's mystery after Billy is delivered to his door to claim Jamie's wife's life, since she is pregnant with Jamie's son. Mary Shaw aims to obliterate his entire Ashen clan, since they were partially responsible for her death. Plot, from there, teeters on the ridiculous, as Mary (via Billy) rips peoples tongues out left and right. Jamie's futile attempts to stop Shaw's ghost result in his discovering a gruesome secret about his brutal, abusive father. Writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan, of Saw,
made this almost comical film about 101 dummies, all relatives of Billy's, who are slaves to their sadistic creator. With many direct references to '80s horror films, and a soundtrack theme song almost exactly like Phantasm's, Dead Silence's
charm banks on its lack of computer-y special effects rather than its originality. Billy's sly violence is creepy but funny, making for a relatively lighthearted horror film that won't traumatize as much as it makes one chuckle. --Trinie Dalton
Chilling horror from the makers of 'Saw'. Mary Shaw (Judith Roberts) was a popular entertainer until she was accused of murdering a young boy. After she was captured by the vengeful townspeople her tongue was cut out before she was mercilessly killed and committed to the earth in the company of her collection of vaudeville dolls. In the years that followed, the town seemed to be haunted by the puppets, and, after mysteriously disappearing from Mary's grave, the menacing figurines would sometimes be glimpsed by the damned in the dead of night - their appearance consistently foreshadowing the death of whoever laid eyes upon them. Newlyweds Jamie (Ryan Kwanten) and Lisa Ashen (Laura Regan) both grew up in Ravens Fair. Now, following Lisa's inexplicable death, Jamie has returned to the pair's hometown in order to say his final goodbyes and find out the truth about his wife's enigmatic demise. After being reunited with his ailing father (Bob Gunton) and the aging man's pretty young bride (Amber Valletta), the grieving widower will finally uncover the shocking truth behind the curse that has plagued Ravens Fair for as far back as he can remember.