From the writers and directors of `Saw' comes `Dead Silence', a ghost story which begins when a young newlywed couple receive a ventriloquist doll.
Forced to go back to the sleepy town of Ravens Fair after the murder of his wife, Jamie Ashen finds that there is a little more to the doll than it being a little bit creepy.
It all goes back to an old ghost story in the town about Mary Shaw, a ventriloquist whose life-long ambition was to make the perfect doll. Accused of the disappearance of a young boy, she is killed by the angry townspeople who then cut out her tongue. They bury her along with her collection of 101 ventriloquist puppets, including Billy - the one that was just posted to Jamie.
This film isn't one to be taken seriously, but is still a very enjoyable horror movie. There are lots of shocks and scares and a really good twist at the end (just like in Saw). Definitely one of the better ghost horror films out recently, certainly better than the likes of The Grudge, The Ring and Boogeyman. If you like films like Darkness Falls and tv shows like The X Files, this is a film to look out for.
Raven's Fair-A Quiet Place To Live.
Dead Silence is directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell. It stars Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Bob Gunton and Judith Roberts. Music is by Charlie Clouser and cinematography by John R. Leonetti.
"Beware the stare of Mary Shaw, she had no children, only dolls, and if you see her in your dreams, be sure to never ever scream"
Autonomatonophobia-Fear of ventriloquist's dummies, animatronic creatures, wax statues - anything that falsely represents a sentient being.
The Autonomatonophobia angle is important in the context of how much you enjoy/get scared by Wan and Whannell's first venture out of the Saw franchise they created. On that level, along with a sprinkle of menacing clown play for the Coulrophobic, Dead Silence knocks it out of the park. The imagery of freaky dolls and dummies is excellently handled by Wan, who along with his deft knack for spooky atmospherics and setting of a scene, shows a gushing obligation to chill his viewers. Production design is a blend of Universal Studios old school and Lynchian weird, with the town of Raven's Fair a wonderful ghost town creation, and the vengeful Mary Shaw ghost at the centre of proceedings is high on the old hag scary scale. The surface of Dead Silence is excellent, but what lies beneath is shallow and unlikely to induce Autonomatonophobia in those fortunate to not be spooked by model critters.
The story itself is just a little old hat, even if the doll/dummies angle adds a fresh spin on it. Be it Woman in Black (Herbert Wise), The Drop of Water (Mario Bava), Darkness Falls (Jonathan Liebesman) or Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven) for a handful of examples, regardless of the quality of film, stories of this type have been well enough served already. Whannell's distinctly average script adds some jolts and twists, which apart from the daft reveal at the finale (seriously it's on a par with Orphan's WTF twist), keeps the undemanding horror faithful entertained. But it's a missed opportunity to instill a new fear into those horror fans searching for a new high, it's lazy writing and forces the roll call of dolls and dummies to carry the movie on their own. Too many occasions crop up that bewilder the viewer, the opening kicks it off by having two people barely bat an eyelid when a Ventriloquist Dummy is mysteriously delivered to their home! And on it goes from there, without a semblance of thinking outside the Autonomatonophobic box.
Sadly the cast aren't up to the task of imbuing the weak plot with any amount of human drama. Kwanten isn't strong enough to lead the picture, Wahlberg struggles in a barely realised (and near pointless) role, Gunton is wasted: a victim of plot dynamics as it turns out, and Valletta, whilst pretty as a picture, is just filing in for a role that any pretty blonde actress could play on any given day. Support players Laura Regan and Michael Fairman do better at performance level, and Roberts adds a bit of creepy class for the Mary Shaw flash back sequences. Sound work is well orchestrated, with Clouser's score able to fray the nerves and Wan's decision to use silence to herald impending terror works clinically well and Leonetti's photography is suitably at one with the atmospherics required for the Raven's Fair segments, with lurid reds, shifting shadows and filtered fog all hitting the spot.
As someone who is tinged by Autonomatonophobia and Coulrophobia, I had a scary old time with the film, often finding myself breathing heavy and peeking through fingers when the camera fell on one of Mary Shaw's model creations. But that's about the level Dead Silence plays at, it's restricted in who it will scare. Meaning that even allowing for some undoubted technical flourishes (Wan undeniably has a horror talent), Dead Silence rates about 7/10 to people like me, but below that for the non dummy phobics.
on 21 April 2008
I watched this film coz its from the directors of saw... I like horror films especially watching them with the lights off.
There was no blood and gore in this, but that was ok for me coz to "jump" in a film is just as good. I'd recommend this film if dolls/puppets creep you out as THERE'S ONE ON THE LOOSE! I'd watch it again.. possibly buy it. Its a good watch and I think its hard to come by films that can make you "jump" nowadays! It defenatly worth taking a chance on.
on 2 March 2015
THIS IS A PERFECT COPY OF THIS MOVIE, THAT IS WHY I BOUGHT A 2ND DVD TO HAVE IN THE FUTURE IN CASE THEY STOP PRINTING THIS MOVIE. THIS DVD IS WORTH EVERY PENNEY, GREAT SOUND, PICTURE AND OF COURSE ONE HELL OF A PLOT. THE PERSON THAT WROTE THE MOVIE AND THE MAN WHO DIRECTED IT SHOULD GET A TROPHY ON A OUTSTANDING JOB. THIS MOVIE IS ABOUT A WOMAN WHO CREATED 101 DUMMYS. SHE HAD A EVIL WAY ABOUT HER AND I WOULD NOT PIS THIS WOMAN OFF. I PROMISE YOU WILL GET GREAT PLEASURE WATCHING AND WILL REMEMBER THIS DVD. I'VE GOT TO SAY THE MUSIC SCORE IS PERFECT, IT STAYS WITH YOU SO BUY IT, YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY.
on 12 January 2008
This is a great horror film. Creepy, jumpy and a decent plot. The only reason for not giving this a 5 was that I did guess the twist about half way through, it is a bit pradictable but if you love horror films then you will have seen that many of them that you can spot these things!!!
on 18 July 2014
a women who used to perform as a ventriloquist dies,as murders are happening ,the tongues ripped out of the victims,a couple in the city are sent a doll ,and put it on the bed the girl alone while her boyfriend goes for wine and a take out hears movement and sees the full size apparition and is found dead ,tongue ripped out,the boy goes back to this father and the town to find out who sent the doll,but people are reluctant to talk,and yet more murders occur they police officer sent to the hamlet town to arrest the boy finds that all 100 ventriloquist dolls she asked to be buried with her have been dug up and then the danger starts and the fun begins.a brilliant film I must say ,well worth the money and well worth watching,recommend it
on 19 October 2010
I'm surprised by so many negative reviews for this film - okay, it's not ground breaking and the story skips along at such a pace that the sense of menace is often lost and consequently investment in the characters is minimal, however I did find it scary and had a least one `scream out loud' moment!
The story kicks in immediately with the bizarre death of `the hero's' wife; his return to their home town for her burial and his gradual realisation that the evil spirit of local legend Mary Shaw might have had something to do it with.
There are numerous `jump' moments and there is a sense of general creepiness about the whole film. Of course like all horror films it has its fair share of `why'moments - why did she put that creepy puppet in her bed?, why did he turn out the lights?, why would you go to a spooky old mansion in the middle of the night?, etc. I also saw no sign of a `SAW'-esque element in the film, which is good and the gore-quota in the SAW films was quite unpleasant actually.
The ending is gleeful and unexpected (until about 5 minutes before) and it's also good to play the `where have I seem them before game?'. The cast includes a bloke off the first season of `Desperate Housewives', a woman who was the victim in the thriller `What Lies Beneath' and the hero was formally of `Home & Away' fame but more recently seen on `True Blood'. All good fun though.
If you don't take your horror seriously, and aren't spooked by dollies, then you'll definitely enjoy this movie!
on 28 May 2015
'From the makers of Saw', the catch line to rope in fans of the series, and the works of Leigh Whannell and James Wan.
Whilst the actual construction of the film is solid (it doesn't play like a b movie), the story just fails to deliver in being scary, terrifying, or disturbing. A big let down from Whannell and Wan, as I think they are capable of much better.
Whanell and Wan seem to fall short when tackling the supernatural, or dealing with themes linked to the occult.
This particular film may well frighten audiences around the age of its censorship rating, but seasoned horror fans may well be disappointed.
on 3 November 2007
Once again i must criticise the amount of people who mark a film down because it does'nt have loads of gore - what happened to liking a film because it has a story , is well acted , is not slow paced , has thrills & has a decent twist at the end - THIS FILM HAS ALL THESE ELEMENTS - Good late night entertainment - don't be put off by any bad reviews you may read - you won't be disappointed if you like a good old style horror / thriller - RECOMMENDED !!
`Dead Silence' is one of those horror films that probably gets lumped in with every other million horror film currently cluttering up the bargain DVD bins. However, unlike so many of its contemporaries, this one's actually worth a look.
It's about a happily married, city-dwelling young couple, who take delivery of your average creepy horror movie-type doll. Seeing as neither had ordered a creepy horror movie doll from Amazon, they put it to one side and order takeaway. However, you should never leave a creepy horror movie-type doll alone too long, or it kills you - in this case, the wife.
Now, the husband has to return to his hometown to unravel the mystery as to why someone is sending him killer creepy horror movie-type dolls.
Yes, it's not very original. You'll find a fair few horror movie clichés along the way, but the dolls are nicely creepy, as is who we find is controlling them. It's no modern day classic (such as The Ring, Saw, or The Grudge), but, if you like your horror films, there should be enough here to keep you entertained and elevate `Dead Silence' over so many other similar films.
Maybe more of a 3.5 to most, but I'm marking up :)