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  • Writer's pictureMr. Pat

Dead Silence

The 332nd review!

You know what's wild to me? Growing up, when I stared really following the NBA, John Stockton was always the "old guy" with his short shorts. Nobody at any level wore their shorts at that length. During a throwback night Kobe once said wearing those shorts felt like wearing a thong. My point is, shorts that didn't touch your knees were for older crowds. But now that I'm in my mid 30's those shorts are in now. NBA, college and high school; they're wearing "old guy" shorts. So what was considered old when I was growing up is now hip and what was hip is now old. It's a weird time to be alive that's for sure. So yeah, let's talk about today's movie...

Dead Silence (2007)

I'm going to come out right and say it, this movie doesn't get the credit it deserves. It's damn scary! It bombed at theaters, critics ravaged it, and the screenwriter, Leigh Whannel, HATED it. I think that may be because a "script doctor" was called in by the studio and they changed a lot of his stuff, but still, I liked this movie a lot.

When this came out, I was working at a movie theater and was doing a "theater check." It's where an usher goes in, checks the screen, checks the crowd and then checks the temperature. I happened to walk in during one particular scene and I literally (not figuratively) jumped in the air. It really, really got to me.

The movie is a revenge tale about a vengeful ghost named Mary Shaw. She was a ventriloquist and had her tongue cut out by a group of parents. Mary didn't like that, not one bit, so she came back to, in her words, "silence those who silenced me." She does that by ripping out their tongues when they scream. In the beginning she murders a young woman and a detective, played by Donnie Wahlberg, believes her hubby, Jamie, was behind it. Trying to get answers, and to clear his name, Jamie goes back to his hometown of Raven's Fair.

There is so much I liked about this movie and I think even if you watched it once, it deserves a second viewing. There's a twist at the end and when you view it the second time you can see the answer is right in front of you, it actually increased my enjoyment of the twist the second time I saw it.

Another awesome thing about this film is the score. The main song is just so creepy and unnerving, it puts you in the perfect mood. Speaking of music, it did something I loved when it came to the scary moments. In most movies of any genre, when something big is happening the music rises to a crescendo, but in Dead Silence, the music goes away completely and it's really jarring. The movie goes completely quiet, save for footsteps or the creaking floors. It's incredibly effective and heightens the tension to where either you want to inch closer to your screen or hide from what you know is on its way Adding to the spookiness, dolls are inherently creepy and this movie has the scary wooden dolls in spades!

Now let's talk about the characters. The lead, Jamie Ashen is OK, he's passable. I loved seeing Bob Gunton on screen and, without trying to spoil anything, he plays his part very well. It's hard to explain without giving it away, but after you watch the movie and experience it, you appreciate his performance more. Mary Shaw, the baddie, is so incredibly frightening. In her will she wanted to be turned into a doll when she died, and that's exactly what they did. She is easily one of the scarier ghosts I can remember seeing. Everything about her is scary and I'm not just talking about her face. Her thin and tall frame looks particularly scary when all you can see is her silhouette. And her appearance isn't the only thing horrifying about her. She was a ventriloquist when she was alive, so she can mimic other people's voices and make it sound like it's coming from somewhere else. It's so cool because you can never know where she is. They're just following a voice that she can control. It's a cruel trick and she uses it wonderfully. Plus, I want to reiterate, she looks terrifying!

While Mary was great, Wahlberg is the highlight as Detective Lipton. He's the cynic officer who is always shaving. It's kind of his thing with his electric razor. I don't know why he's always shaving, but for some reason it's awesome when he does it. I like him because he's rational and comes across as lazy. He doesn't want to deal with Jamie's attempts to get answers because; one, he thinks Jamie did it, and two, it would inconvenience him. At one point Jamie makes a break for it and takes off in his car and Wahlberg is more annoyed that he has to give chase yelling, "I don't have a full tank of gas!" But when things do get out of hand, he's extremely competent and helpful, I liked how he didn't hesitate or be the stereotypical mistrusting cop. He assessed the situation really quickly and understood what the real threat was

One last thing I liked, once he gets to Raven's Fair, everything is gloomy. The sky is overcast and the colors are washed out. I think they're going with it being supposed to mirror the town's decline since Shaw's murder. I love how the muted colors contrasted with Jamie's unbelievably bright, red car. It's not a plot point or anything, I just think it's a funny visual because a Sherman Tank would look less out of place than his car.

As much as I liked it, it doesn't quite stick the landing. You see, Mary kills you by ripping out your tongue when you scream. So if you keep your mouth shut she can't get to you. This ending was always going to happen but the goal of the script was to find a way to make that happen believably. After everything that happened leading up to that moment, I didn't find it believable for it to go down the way it dead, especially after an unbelievably sad bombshell gets tossed onto his lap. Despite really, really liking this movie, the ending left a bad taste in my mouth. It's disappointing because even after a second watch, it's still the scariest movie I've watched this month by far. It's getting a lot of Dr. Chainsaws, but it would be higher if it ended a slightly different way.

8 Dr. Chainsaws!


Dead Silence

From the writers and director of Saw comes this relentless thriller about the terrifying legend of Mary Shaw and the chilling reason why when you see her, you should never, ever scream.

Provider NBC Universal

Release date 2007

Running time 1:31:54

Actors Donnie Wahlberg, Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Bob Gunton, Michael Fairman, Judith Roberts, Laura Regan

Director James Wan

Producers Gregg Hoffman, Oren Koules, Mark Burg

Writer Leigh Whannell

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