Written by: Matt Molgaard
When a ventriloquist’s dummy shows up at your door for absolutely no reason whatsoever, slap about two million Post-Its on it, each demanding a ‘return to sender’. Because you can bet, a random guest of that nature can only lead to disaster. Like tongues, torn right out of mouths, and paralyzing battles with ghostly puppet masters.
This relatively early James Wan/Leigh Whannell collaboration was widely panned upon initial release. Donnie Wahlberg took some verbal damage for his work, and the story was generally picked apart – pundits citing inconsistencies and improbabilities as the screenplay’s weakest elements. I’ll say this: Dead Silence is not a perfect film. It’s definitely not Wan and Whannell’s finest moment, but it’s actually creepy, and far better than the know-it-alls may have you believing.
The performances are solid, even the work turned in by Wahlberg. The dialogue is believable, and the ebb and flow of key character personalities works quite well. To add to the positives, the story actually does make sense. It’s really an urban legend tale that refuses to die, and while it may come off as a bit confusing during the first half of the pic, the answers fall right into place in the second. And the twist, oh boy the twist… it’s fuckin’ awesome! If this one doesn’t put a creepy grin on your face upon inaugural viewing, you should check your pulse.
The special effects are somewhat minimalized, but what is on display is impressive. Perhaps because Wan doesn’t attempt to draw blood from a turnip. He knows what he’s working with, and he knows how to make what he’s working with eerie and convincing. Aesthetically the flick really is a pleasure to behold, and while genre legions may continue to ignore the film’s existence, I’m fully prepared to welcome it into the collection.
There’s some spine tingling shit in this flick, Do yourself a favor and give it another chance! Dead Silence is a winner.