Day #213: Dead Silence (2007)


[From IMDb:] A widower returns to his hometown to search for answers to his wife’s murder, which may be linked to the ghost of a murdered ventriloquist.

My take:

There’s a lot to like about Dead Silence. It’s got a dark, eerie feeling to it, which the film’s visuals do a lot to emphasise. In particular , the subdued colours (and a whoooole lot of smoke/”mist”) is used to reinforce the sense that, if there was anywhere in the world this kind of thing could happen, it would be in this small, dreary town.

The acting is stronger than the script, which – while it has its moments – tends to feel a bit clunky at times. The aggregate result is something that’s decent, if not great. Similarly, while the plot is a slight variation on the same vengeful spirit story that’s been used a million times before (with some decent plot holes to boot), the twist at the end is pretty great – leaving the end result, once again, slightly more tarnished than it needed to be.

You know what really would’ve improved the movie for me, though?

There are moments where Billy the doll (pictured above) creates a “silence,” which the movie goes to pains to emphasise by honing in on the loss of sound created by dripping water and squealing kettles, etc. This silence is meant to indicate that something scary/supernatural is supposed to happen; and I really can’t help but feel that it’s undermined by the fact that characters moving around in this “silence” still create sound. If these scenes were actually completely silent, I reckon they would’ve been much more powerful – especially if their conclusion was punctuated by a louder than usual return to ‘normal’ sound (for the shock of it).

Oh well.

My own stylistic wishes aside though, Dead Silence ain’t half bad. It’s certainly got a creepy atmosphere going for it, and there are some moments that I can imagine teenage girls screaming at in a theatre (you know why I can imagine that? Because I’ve heard it so many times I’m traumatised), which seems to be a common theme of horror movies.

Plus, there’s over 100 creepy bloody dolls.


So, y’know, there’s that.


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