Dead Silence a creepy movie despite its shortfalls

Robert Taylor

Shh . don’t tell anyone, but Dead Silence isn’t half bad.

It begins with a ventriloquist dummy (damn those things are creepy) arriving at the home of two newlyweds. Needless to say, this is a horror movie, and one of the newlyweds ends up very dead. Extremely dead, actually, and her husband is the prime suspect.

Dead Silence

Released by Universal Pictures

Starring Ryan Kwanten, Donnie Wahlberg and Amber Valletta

Directed by James Wan

Stater rating (out of 5): **1/2

Remembering a rhyme about dummies from his youth, our hero (Ryan Kwanten) travels back to his hometown to uncover the truth. Turns out there was this creepy old woman who was turned into a human dummy when she died and was buried with her 101 ventriloquist dummies, and her ghost is pissed about . something. And yes, the twists are obvious, so don’t strain your mind looking over every inch of the screen for hints.

The premise wouldn’t be so bad if the movie was set in the ’20s, but it seems out of place set in the present. The dialogue is atrocious, and Donnie Wahlberg can’t save his needless role even though he tries hard. And the ending is an utter mess: Making any part of the ventriloquist dummies CGI was the worst idea put on film since Gigli. And the final frames feel like Saw-lite with the main character acting like a real dummy (no pun intended . well, maybe a little).

But the world the movie creates and the direction do a lot to make up for the dumb moves. Everything is cast in gray tones and impending doom is felt throughout each frame. The cast does all they can in their roles and their effort is appreciated by the viewers.

And, refreshingly enough, director James Wan strays away from gore for most of the movie, deciding instead to focus on mood and suspense. It works well for the film, since seeing animated Chucky-like dummies go on rampages would not be as scary as seeing a single eye turning toward one of the characters. Less is much more, in this case.

Dead Silence isn’t a great film, and sometimes it isn’t even a good one, but it’s a creepy little movie and when it works, it works really well.

Contact ALL reporter Robert Taylor at [email protected].