johnlink ranks DEAD SILENCE (2007)

DEAD SILENCE is the follow up to the 2004 film SAW for director James Wan, who has since gone on to do such well received movies as the two INSIDIOUS films and THE CONJURING. I like Wan’s vision, and I decided to give this a run despite its uninspiring premise.


I watched DEAD SILENCE (2007) on 10.11.13. It was my first viewing of the film.

When a young woman is brutally murdered by a ventriloquist dummy, her husband Jamie (TRUE BLOOD’s Ryan Kwanten) returns his home town to try and figure out why. It seems the town has a dark secret when it comes to a decades old female ventriloquist who was lynched for possibly kidnapping and killing some kids. She is out for revenge.

A detective (Donnie Wahlberg) has a hard time believing that a dummy could have done the murder, so he follow Jamie around trying to pin the murder on him. This provides a little bit of a cat-and-mouse game which helps quicken the pace as Jamie tries to solve the mystery. It also serves to provide another bit of cliched storytelling.

Despite the silly plot and the tired horror movie moments, Wan pulls the most out of this film. The shot composition provides plenty of horror where the writing fails to do so. There are several moments which hold much more weight than they should because of Wan’s vision.

Kwanten, as Jamie, also gives the movie some needed solidity. His character in TRUE BLOOD is a daft but lovable oaf. In DEAD SILENCE, he plays a determined self-taught doer. His eagerness works, even if the writing sometimes makes it too easy for him to get away from his tailing detective.

The movie names the dummy Billy, just like the puppet in SAW. In fact, I could swear I saw Jigsaw’s mouthpiece sitting on the floor in one shot near the end of the film. There seems to be a subtle illusion to the fact that this film’s Mary Shaw may have created the puppet for SAW, thereby changing some of the idea of what SAW is. I hope that was not intended. SAW is a movie which stands strongly in reality, with the horror being that the sort of violence and psychosis in that film could happen in real life. DEAD SILENCE is something else. It is a paranormal ghost story with ventriloquist dummies who stop time and kill people. Combining those two worlds does not compute.

But that’s really a digression. The fact of the matter is that DEAD SILENCE is a surprisingly well shot and sadly underwritten horror film with a twist ending which makes no sense after thinking about it for two minutes (one of those movies where the killer could have killed at any point and toys with its victims for no logical reason, since it seems the main purpose is merely to kill all along). It is worth watching once, sure, but doesn’t stand up to some of the better Wan films.





~ by johnlink00 on October 12, 2013.

2 Responses to “johnlink ranks DEAD SILENCE (2007)”

  1. I had no idea that both Saw and this could have been connected by that doll. Very nice observation. I think this was a good stepping ground for Wan to try more supernatural horror vs just gory horror.

    • That’s a good point about it being a stepping stone. Looking back, knowing where his career went, this film feels beneath his talent. But at the time, it was probably just what he needed to do.

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