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Necessary Evil: Horror movie set in total darkness
You Scream. You die.
Our little boys are all growns up! They're all growns up, all grows up, they're all growns up! Unless you've been living under Roseanne Barr's
fat ass for the last 3 years, director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell should
need no introduction. They broke on the spills scene in 2004 with their indie vice grip
which in turn gave birth to the most successful horror franchise since Nightmare on Elm Street. Now they're back with
their first Studio flick; meaning more coin to play with and a handful of suits on
their backs. So how did it all turn out? Here we go!
It was hard not to be enamored of DEAD SILENCE throughout my sit down with it, even with its flaws in tow. The endearing storyline was a mix of fairy tale, old fashion genre pulp (Think Twilight Zone) and 80's afternoon delights (Nightmare on Elm Street anyone?) and it was creepy as f*ck. Furthermore, the Hammer/Bava-ish atmosphere at play was infectious to say the least while Wan's creativity in terms of shots and scene transitions just kept rubbing my horror fanboy bone the right way. The man went buck-wild visually (The Argento influences shined through this one) and often enough when the progression of the story would let me down; it didn't hurt me as much as it could've since the film was one great looking beeyatch to gawk at! I must also commend Wan for one particular device which I felt worked wonders. In most horror films, when a scare bit kicks in, the soundtrack blasts up to frighten us with noise. Not here. Staying true to its title, Dead Silence did just that as to its fear set pieces; it slyly went dead silent. What a novel, brave and highly effective way of spooking one's audience! It worked on me big time! I freaking had chills traveling up my wang! Only downside of that was when in silent mode; I could hear the forever chatting mooks in the theatre even more! Bummer. When will people learn to shut the f*ck up when watching a movie at the cinema... like really....COME ON! You're not in your living room over here! THERE'S OTHER PEOPLE!
Sorry about that; got carried away there; I guess its that time of the month,
whatever that means. Now where was I? Ah yes, Dead Silence.
The film's warped sense of humor brought me lots of loving as well. If it wasn't
Donnie Wahlberg's "quirky cop straight out of Twin Peaks" showcase cracking
smiles on my ugly mug, it was the clever dialogue (we get some great lines here)
getting some giggles out of me.. Moreover, when given the room to do so; Dead
Silence whipped out some some pretty twisted shit from of its back-pack and shoved
my face into it with glee. THANK YOU! I
for one will never look at a dummy the same way and when I say dummy, I mean my
ex-girlfriend; natch! Add to all that sweetness, a gripping score by Charlie
Clouser (who also scored SAW) that backed up the shenanigans perfectly, a delicious creepy aura that
was constant the whole way, some effective tension laced sequences, brilliant sound design, a memorable/distressing villain (Miss Shaw is Freddy K but old and with tits) and a couple of nifty back-handing plot twists that
hit where it counts and
you get an unsettling yet highly amusing exercise in blow up doll abuse.
On the rusty side of the blade, was it me or did the film randomly feel compromised? Felt like there was a tug of war going on here at times. For an R Rated film; Dead Silence pussied out on me big time in some respects! Why no cussing? Many situations demanded it but we didn't get it. Didn't feel organic. And the same thing went down with the gore! Often enough I sensed that the flick wanted to be more graphic but it wouldn't, as if it had a foreign hand up its ass doing the talking for it. My biggest peeve with the movie though was its middle section. It lagged a tad, was somewhat un-focused and played the redundancy card a little too much for my liking. Straight up, if I hear the Mary Shaw back story one more time; I'll kill myself, return from the dead, kill death row inmates (f*ck em, stop living off my taxes) and kill myself again. I got it the first time! Then there was some random "off" dialogue (that old dude) which randomly grated my ears. Finally, although thrilling and engaging, the last block of the picture was too rushed for my liking. Why the hurry? The middle block was on the low jive but it wasn't THAT sluggish! Let me enjoy this shite!
On the whole, Dead Silence was a breath of swell dead air for me in the sense that it was a horror film that did something old yet new in terms of today's slate of horror films (i.e. torture flicks...yawn...enough). It also helped that the whole was well acted, morbidly gorgeous, daring enough and mucho spooky. For the most part, I got a groovy hour and a half of warped, dummy-happy fun! With that said, as the end credits rolled I couldn't help but feel a pinch bitter sweet about it all. I was really looking forward to this film and it didn't fully live up to my expectations. I have a hunch that with less smarmy hands in the cookie jar; this one could've been a new horror classic instead of just another pretty good opus. It was all there in spades but "somebody" got in the way of it. You gonna stay silent on this one or yap it up? I say...YAP IT UP! I also say...hook and ers...why cause they'll be here in 20 minutes...YEAH BITCH!