Dead Silence

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Review byMatthew Turner5/07/2007

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Poorly written, badly directed and ultimately scare-free horror flick that's further hindered by dismal performances and unintentionally laughable dialogue.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Saw creators' Leigh Whannell and James Wan (both obviously having something of an off day), Dead Silence stars Ryan Kwanten as young newlywed Jamie, who receives a creepy-looking ventriloquist's dummy in the post. After popping out for some fast-food, Jamie returns home to discover that his wife (Laura Regan) has been brutally murdered and that, as if that wasn't bad enough, someone has cut out her tongue.

Fortunately, before she lost her tongue, his wife had mentioned a local legend from their home town involving a rhyme about 1940s' ventriloquist Mary Shaw, so Jamie sets off to investigate, pursued by dogged detective Donnie Wahlberg. However, the tongueless corpses keep piling up and Detective Donnie is getting more and more suspicious.

The Bad
There are some classic horror movies about ventriloquists' dummies but, sadly, Dead Silence isn't one of them. For a start, it simply isn't scary enough. None of the supposedly shocking moments work and Wan's idea of suspense is to have Kwanten wander around a series of empty houses for several tedious minutes occasionally throwing in a thunderstorm to liven things up a bit.

The Worst
The acting isn't much better: Kwanten is something of a charisma-free zone, while Wahlberg tries and fails to inject a bit of comedy relief. There's better support from Bob Gunton and Amber Valletta (as Jamie's crippled father and his young wife) but some of the other actors are even more wooden than the dummies.

On top of this, the plot is both stupid and needlessly complicated. There's an amusingly grotesque last-minute twist, but by that time it's too little too late.

Worth seeing?
If the film-makers had only concentrated on the creepiness of the ventriloquist and dummy relationship, this might have worked. As it is, it's a disappointing, badly directed mess.

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Dead Silence
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Content updated: 17/06/2019 02:28

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