"A surprisingly fun and effective killer dummy flick."
REPRINTED FROM MONDOMAGAZINE.NET: James Wan is responsible for the cinematic abortion that was Saw. So was Mr. Leigh Whannell, the writer of Saw. Both men are also responsible for Dead Silence. Saw attempted to be an overly-serious, David Fincher-esque thriller but was so ludicrously executed it failed. Here, however, Wan and Whannell seem to want the audience to have fun with the material. The result is, surprisingly, much more of a treat to watch.The director and writer seem to realize that their premise is ridiculous, creating a funhouse experience for the audience. One in which it is actually good to laugh at the big jump scares and pseudo-terrifying moments.
The story is so simple — you could write the entire movie, with dialogue, on your palm — Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) and his wife Lisa (Laura Regan) are enjoying a pleasant evening together when a mysterious package arrives on their doorstep. Inside the package is a ventriloquist’s dummy — one that apparently brutally murders Lisa when Jamie leaves the apartment. Pursued by Det. Lipton (the manly Donnie Wahlberg), who believes the poor protagonist is responsible for the killing, Jamie returns to his old hometown of Raven’s Fair to plan his wife’s funeral and also to solve the mystery of her death — what a romantic. Many ghostly encounters and intentionally hilarious moving dummy moments follow.
There are many admirable qualities to Dead Silence. James Wan directs with a wonderful visual sense and a keen knowledge for staging the various set pieces in the film. Cinematographer John Leonetti has created a shadow-filled wonderland that works its magic on an audience member’s nerves. Charlie Clouser contributes a moody and effective musical score that is best described as 1950s style horror movie music filtered through modern synthesizers. The biggest surprise is the believable script because — as I said before — Leigh Whannell also wrote Saw. And the whole “I can easily kick the dummy away” trap is avoided by having the demonic wood carvings be a conduit for a much more destructive force. Of course the great performances of Kwaten and Wahlberg helped matters.
Dead Silence most likely won’t set your world on fire. The only substance found in a film involving a female monster that steals tongues is — at best — an unintentionally clever comment on the remaining seeds of the “women should be seen and not heard” crap that remains in our patriarchal society; especially so considering the single female victim versus the festering kill pile of macho men or men with dead or mentally unstable wives.If you’re looking for a fun and breezy time at the movies, you really can’t go wrong with Dead Silence.