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Old 07-31-2011, 10:04 AM

The team of James Wan and Leigh Whannell follow up Jigsaw and Mary Shaw with a freaky demon that’s part Freddy Krueger, part Darth Maul. Or somesuch. But they’re inching closer to the modern genre classic that just never manages to materialize. And with this latest effort that falls somewhat short of that goal like its ilk before it, I think I’ve identified the problem – Shyamalan Syndrome. They don’t use the same gimmicky twist endings, maybe, but they do keep recycling the same “Gotcha!” method in the closing moments that it no longer comes across as shocking and unconventional, but pat and wholly conventional. Scream 4 had a point by saying “the unexpected is the new cliché”, and these guys have perpetuated that to a fault with pretty much every one of their films. It was cool in Saw, then it just became laughable by Dead Silence. Which is a shame in this case, because aside from a fairly standard story that reeks of Paranormal Activity's basic setup (for obvious reasons), Wan has an expert handle on building suspense and bringing the effective shocks to the fore, and there are a lot of genuinely creepy and disturbing moments that give it a distinct stamp in the genre of haunted houses and demonic possession.

-> 7/10