Macabre Movie Mausoleum: Dead Silence

Ah my gluttons for punishment, you’ve returned for another edition of the Macabre Movie Mausoleum. That can only mean you’re ready for another helping of b-movie horror. Last month we reviewed MMM's first silent movie, now we look at a movie with 'silent' in its name SYNERGY!

“Dead Silence” (2007)

Director: James Wan

Stars: Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, and Donnie Wahlberg

This is the closest that the Mausoleum has come to a movie that could be classified as A-list, being that it was released in the theaters, has a legit star, and another wanna be star (I’ll let you figure out which actor is which), and a director with some serious credits to his name. With all that said “Dead Silence” is still relatively unknown, and classifies as a B-level horror movie.

So, was it any good? Judging by the opening scene, this was going to be a pretty bad movie, a cheap imitation of Child's Play, only swapping a possessed doll for a possessed puppet. Thankfully as the movie progressed, it set itself apart from Chucky.

What follows after the rocky opening is a movie with its own built in mythology, and introduces us to human puppets, revenge seeking ghosts, and 101 murderous puppets (including the doll from Saw for eagle eyed viewers). The main antagonist of the movie (besides the very rational fear of ventriloquist dummies) is Mary Shaw. And although she's an original creation for the movie, she manages to feel timeless instead of like a cookie-cutter, cheap imitation of a more well-known villain.

The thing I appreciate the most about the movie is how the title plays into the legend of Mary Shaw.  Being the vengeful spirit of a disgraced ventriloquist, she only kills her victims when they scream in terror. During the kill, all other noise is muted out, heightening the intensity of the scenes. However, if her target can remain silent in the face of danger, she spares their lives. Maybe not the most logical of quirks, but it works in this otherwise mediocre film.

On to the rating…

I feel like multiple viewings of this movie will result in different grave markers, but right now with a fresh memory of a first time viewing, I’m going to give this a proper tombstone… for now. Perhaps a few years down the line I’ll do a recap series and see where the movie ranks then. 

As it stands, this is an enjoyable horror flick with some inventive deaths, and nice practical effects. The CGI is lacking, and some of the set pieces, especially the climax, were illogical and ill designed. The story had definite strong points, but also faltered in a few exposition scenes. All in all, it is a good movie worth a viewing, and the twist ending is the kind that makes you want to watch the movie again looking for any clues you may have missed. Since I haven’t seen it a second time, I can’t say whether this is a fruitless endeavor or not, but I’ll let you know once I have. 

That’s all for now my gravediggers and undertakers. See you next month for another edition of the Macabre Movie Mausoleum. 

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For more from Alex Azar, go to azarrising.com