WEIRDO’WEEN #09: Dead Silence [2007]

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As most, if not all, of you know, I have an indefinite fear of clowns. They’re creepy, their makeup is just too much for me, and their laugh is just…not something I plan on listening to on repeat. However, another thing I feel I have a fear of [but not nearly as bad] is dolls; specifically, ventriloquist dolls. I mean, I love the Goosebumps books, but it took me a long time to finish Night Of The Living Dummy for this reason. However, this isn’t a book review, I’m that guy who reviews movies.

Today we’re talking about a movie, involving dolls, that I actually hadn’t seen until Stephanie and I got together, [over six years ago!] which is actually surprising, since it’s by James Wan and Leigh Whannell. [of Saw fame] The film’s story follows a ventriloquist, named Mary Shaw. After she went supposedly went mad in the 40s, she was accused of kidnapping a young boy who yelled out in one of her shows that she was a fraud. If you haven’t caught on yet, today’s movie choice is none other..than Dead Silence.

weirdo'ween-#9As with every town involving a ghost story with a local tale, a lonely town named Ravens Fair has their own version of a story about Mary Shaw. Because of the aforementioned kidnapping, she was hunted down by townspeople who – in an act of revenge – chose that the most ironic way to kill her: cut out her tongue! [and then proceed to murder her] After killing her, they decided to bury her along with her “children,” which were her handmade collection of dolls, therefore, silencing her..forever. However, Ravens Fair has been plagued by a group of mysterious deaths after Shaw‘s “collection” has returned from their “graves”. Far from the reaches of the cursed hometown, a couple: Jamie and Lisa Ashen thought they planned their perfect fresh start, at least until Jamie‘s wife is grotesquely killed in their apartment.. Naturally, this means that Jamie has to return to Ravens Fair for her funeral, but is now insisting on unraveling the mystery of Lisa‘s death.This is the majority of what we see in film. The film itself is creepy, eerie and very atmospheric; with probably my favorite aspect being the “silence” scenes – which were signaled by the film’s audio track going completely bare. As expected, this symbolized, and told us about the presence of evil, and that something was just about to happen!

Dead Silence also has plenty of horror elements to provide the scares: it has folk tales, singing children, antique looking furniture, voice recordings fading out, flickering lights, dead loved ones calling from beyond the grave, photographs of dead families; including dead children, cackling evil old women, wide-eyed dolls, plenty of thunder and lightning to keep you on your toes, open caskets, wet crawlspaces, and a ever-pervading sense of evil around every corner. Also, dolls. [specifically one scene] a lot of dolls. Which brings me to my next point:

Dolls, and the idea of ventriloquism, are the main themes of the plot. Since they are the core base for the story-line, they can actually come off as being scary. [I mean, just look at Billy above!] I’ll be the first to say that if you, or someone you’re showing this movie to who have a fear of dolls, they should probably avoid this film. [Especially if they don’t like clowns either, because there’s a clown-like doll!] Also, the film boasts some great sets as well. The entire town of Ravens Fair has a heavily Gothic tone to it, almost to the point of making it feel like a dream. [I absolutely love this setting] The sets as a whole are spooky, which they should be, because it really adds to the movie. Even ventriloquist Mary Shaw, was actually quite terrifying! [though, at times; this can be accredited to jump scares] Her “undead” look made her into one of the creepier women in recent horror films. As for the gore, there is some but if you’re expecting the Saw like gore – just because it’s the same writer – you’ll be severely disappointed. It doesn’t use typical violence and graphic gore to get some cheap scares out of the audience..which unfortunately what a lot of recent horror films have been trying to do lately. Then, there’s the ending. Now this, was the way to finish it off. It’s a twist-ending, but don’t let that put you off from watching- it works well with the rest of the movie, it’s not one of those “bad movie twists”. It was very unexpected [I like to believe I’m good at catching onto twists, and even I didn’t catch it!] and very well-written.

So is Dead Silence worth watch? I like to think so, it felt refreshing [especially in a horror world that was becoming obsessed with unnecessary SAW sequels when this movie was released] and original. The dolls were creepy enough, and the atmosphere was enough to keep you engulfed in a world where ventriloquism rules above all else. Even if you could end up dead if you claim it’s fake. It’s unfortunate that it was considered a movie failure because instead of a sequel to Dead Silence, we got Saw IV – which, wasn’t a bad film, just another sequel that progressively got worse as it’s series went on. So yes, I’m confident in saying that you should see Dead Silence: it’s no doubt better than some of the crappy SAW films that came after it – though, that’s not hard to accomplish.

And another thing! If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #10! STAY TUNED!

ALSO: because today is Friday, here’s a quick Fun Fact about Dead Silence: during the scene when we see all the dolls in the auditorium, keep an eye open for Billy – the puppet from SAW!

THANKS FOR READING.

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