Reviews & Counting
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Dead Silence(2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: James Wan

Ryan Kwanten/Jamie
Amber Valletta/Ella
Donnie Wahlberg/Det. Lipton
Michael Fairman/Henry
7 10
A suit wearing, ball breaking ventriloquist doll on his doorstep and a tragic event sends wavy mane Jamie (Kwanten) back to his hometown of Raven's Fall to solve a mystery and battle the peeved off ghost of Mary Shaw and all of her children i.e. dolls that will f*ck you up!

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 SAW 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!

Although the flick skimped out on actual graphic violence; the aftermaths were crazy, gross and out of line enough to make up for that. Ripped out tongues, human/dummies hybrids and blood splashes here and here, I got enough "yucks" for my bucks.
Ryan Kwanten (Jamie) was very likeable and brought some intensity to the game. I felt his pain hence making me want to follow him around. Amber Valletta (Ella) had the sizzling hot looks and the chops to pull her part off. When Donnie Wahlberg (Det. Lipton) was onscreen he effortlessly stole the show...him, his moustache and his trusty electric razor that is. Not sure who gave the best performance out of those though. Michael Fairman (Henry) and Bob Gunton (Edward) did what they had to do with talent and class. Everybody should be lucky enough to have a girlfriend like Laura Regan (Lisa)! Natural and adorable! Love that dame! Judith Roberts (Mary Shaw) so worked as the ghost with a grudge and a love of dolls. I wouldn't want to meet her in a darkly lit bar...unless I was drunk and jacked on Viagra that is...brrrr.
T & A
NATHING! Even the dolls didn't drop their tops... too bad, that was some hot looking dummies!
Wan double downed on the eye candy with this one! I'm talking striking mood, kinetic shots (love them zoom in/zoom out of eyeballs shite), potent suspense bits, stylish establishings and an overall zippy pace (a bit too zippy at the end). Wan proved that he wasn't a one hit pony behind the camera with this one, the man has a shitload of talent.
Charlie Clouser did it again with his morose, absorbing and unsettling score that elevated the happenings to an all new level. Gotta get that soundtrack for my collection!
Personally, DEAD SILENCE hit the g-spot! Audio/visually hypnotizing while wearing its perverse mind-set on its blood stained sleeve, this nail laced baseball bat to the noggin gave me some old school jive with a new school "FU" attitude. Granted the flick sported some boo-boos and felt tampered as the middle section was somewhat choppy and the finale hurried but overall, I'll take an ambitious flick like this sucka over another "by the numbers, lets do what sells" product any day. Wan is here to stay and I for one can't wait for his next film! Wait...is that the doorbell? YUP! Its super time! And when I say supper, I mean a meal for the Sasquatch in my Speedos.
The film was shot in Toronto Canada and was the last film by late producer Gregg Hoffman.

The film was initially named SILENCE.

Look out for the SAW doll making a cameo in the film.