Director – James Wan
Cast – Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Fairman, Joan Heney, Rob Gunton, Laura Regan, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Judith Roberts
Release Year – 2007
Reviewed by John of the Dead
If there is one inanimate object that has always been able to scare me, especially in childhood, it would have to be a dummy. I remember being so stoked when I first saw the trailer for this film because I cannot remember the last time I ever saw anything have to do with horror and dummies. R. L. Stine’s “Night of the Living Dummy” trilogy did it for me as a kid, and now thanks to the guys behind “Saw“, Dead Silence can do it for me as an adult.
The film follows a recently widowed man named Jamie Ashen(Ryan Kwanten), who’s wife was brutally murdered by an unknown force after a mysterious dummy was dropped off at their doorstep late one night. Because of the circumstances surrounding his wife’s murder, Mr. Ashen is easily suspect no. 1 and Detective Lipton(Donnie Wahlberg)
Oh how I wish we had more films like this nowadays. Inanimate objects coming to live with evil intentions is pretty much my favorite horror sub-genre, especially because nearly all of us have some kind of object laying around that we would have to see come to life. Right? Killer dolls have been done several times, but killer dummies? That is a rarity, a really creepy rarity. I was really glad that the return of a killer dummy to the big screen was brought to us by writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan. These are the same guys that brought us Saw, with Leigh Whannell staying with the franchise to also write Saw II and Saw III. I really found this film to be a great shoutout to the horror flicks we grew up with. It had all the right clichés, the right scares, and of course their trademark…a brilliant twist you never see coming.
The story for the film is one you’ve seen before countless times if you are a horror fan. Our protagonist must search for answers at a far away place he is not accustomed to, but has roots in. The use of Donnie Wahlberg as the detective was cliché as hell, but enjoyable because it is what is expected of his role in this type of film. He managed to pull off a fine job as the smart-ass detective with a constant 5 o’clock shadow. He look familiar? He should, he was the protagonist for Saw II. The story behind the murders in this film is an enjoyable one as well. Vengeful spirits have a special place in my heart(it sounds crazy, I know) because they are virtually unstoppable, and require background information supplied throughout the film, which I always find fun. Oh, and did I mention this was written by Leigh Whannell? I really do enjoy this guy’s writing. He always writes in some sweet kills, and of course comes up with the most twisted twist endings imaginable. The dude is great.
James Wan’s direction in this film was a positive effort as well. I like the dark and gritty feel he kept us in throughout the entire film, and the “silence” before the kill scenes was excellent. Speaking of the kills, he really put on the gore for this film’s kill scenes. Mr. Whannell wrote in the gore, and Mr. Wan put it to screen in excellent fashion. He paced the film moderately well, but at some parts I was wishing for some tighter movement. This left me curious for his next horror effort, whatever that is. This being his sophomore effort for the horror genre, he has pretty much made himself a name in the horror genre. Saw, Dead Silence, both positive films. What’s next Mr. Wan???
Overall, this is an enjoyable film that I recommend to fans of inanimate object oriented horror. This isn’t the best film ever, but you will not be left disappointed if you like this stuff.