Dead Silence

Movie Review by EDF

Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Bob Gunton
Director: James Wan

Oh no, here comes another horror movie. Quick, run away before you have another 90 minutes of your life taken away from you. But wait. Before you can say SawHostelBoogeyman, DEAD SILENCE is more than just another slasher, gory, horror movie, which thankfully it is not. It is in fact more of the type of mystery horror movie that filmmakers used to make years ago. With these sorts of movies you would expect the odd gory scene but the story would not lead from one gory scene to another. In fact you would have a storyline that would slowly reveal itself in a way that not only grabs the audience attention, it will also scare them. Welcome to DEAD SILENCE.

Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) finds a box outside the front door of his apartment. In the box is a ventriloquist dummy named Billy. His wife Lisa (Laura Regan) takes the doll and plans to scare Jamie when he returns from the shops. As always, the best laid plans do not go exactly as they should and Billy kills Lisa by ripping her tongue right out. Jamie finds the body of his dead wife and he soon finds himself the main suspect in her murder. Detective Jim Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg), does not believe that Jamie is innocent and he keeps tabs on his movements. Jamie believes that Billy has something to do with the murder. He goes back to his apartment and tears the cloth covering from the box to reveal that it came from “The Amazing Mary Shaw & Billy in Ravens Fair”.

Jamie heads back to Ravens Fair which also happens to be his hometown and where Lisa’s funeral will be held. When he arrives at Ravens Fair he finds that it has turned into a ghost town. He heads straight to his estranged father’s house and learns that his father Edward (Bob Gunton) suffered a stroke a couple of months before and is now confined to a wheelchair. Jamie also meets his new stepmother Ella (Amber Valletta) for the first time. He refuses his father’s offer to stay in the house and heads to the motel with the dummy in tow.

Jamie proceeds with the funeral arrangements with the local undertaker Henry Walker (Michael Fairman). The police release Lisa’s body to Henry, who is shocked at the state of the body. After the funeral, Jamie finds Henry’s senile wife Marion (Joan Heney) lurking around the cemetery and she warns Jamie about Mary Shaw. Then Jamie comes across Mary Shaw’s grave, which seems to be hidden by weeds and undergrowth. After the funeral, Jamie tries to bury the dummy but Billy reappears, along with Detective Jim Lipton. Knowing that Lipton could arrest him at any time, Jamie must somehow find someone who will tell him all about Mary Shaw and why his wife was murdered.

DEAD SILENCE comes from the same writer/director team that brought you SAW. Just like SAW, it does add a lot of suspense that is not usually found in most horror movies these days but this one is light on the gore and heavy on the suspense. You could nit pick that elements of the plot are taken from other horror stories but with DEAD SILENCE, you can almost forgive them for this. This film also has some of the best use of lighting that I’ve seen in a horror movie for a long while and it makes the atmosphere feel genuinely creepy. There are enough twists in the story to keep you guessing and most of the time you will guess incorrectly. There is even an intriguing scene set in a theatre that looks so elegant, you forget you are watching a horror movie.

I can highly recommend this if you like being scared more than being grossed out.

5 out of 6 stars

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