Hey, everyone! It’s Dash Jordan and All Hallows Eve is just around the corner. Tonight, I thought it would be nice that we take a look at yet another horror film that’s a little more modern. Don’t worry, I’ll check out some older stuff soon enough. Right now, however, we’re going to check out a different kind of legend. Believe it or not. I know exactly what you people want…I’m no dummy.
How’s that for a real scream?
‘Dead Silence’ is a 2007 horror film directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell; both who also co-created the ‘Saw’ series. Upon release, ‘Dead Silence’ just barely made its $20 Million budget back with $22 Million in the box office and received mixed to negative reviews from critics. The film follows a man trying to uncover the mysterious death of his wife after an old ventriloquist dummy is delivered to him and soon uncovers the secrets of Mary Shaw; a ventriloquist with 101 dolls who now haunts the people responsible for her death and kills anyone who screams.
Well, there’s a face only a corpse could love. Keep in mind, people. This movie was released during a time when horror films had become stagnant…again. Meaning, an unnecessary remake here, a PG-13 jump-scare fest there, you get the gist. True, this movie shares some of the familiar symptoms of horror movies from that time. At the same time, however, the few moments where it actually tries to be legitimately scary, let alone show the death of children.
I was actually surprised at how well the horror moments were handled. The whole movie comes off as a contemporary ghost story, and I like to think that this movie bridges that gap between James Wan’s ‘Saw’ and his later horror films. At the same time, also creating an atmosphere that pays tribute to older horror films; including Dario Argento with the constant use of vibrant colors that occasionally pop out throughout the movie.
However, the one thing that I think truly made this movie work was the music. If you’ve seen any of the ‘Saw’ films or at least seen the trailers, you’re probably familiar with the ‘Hello Zepp’ score from former Nine Inch Nails member Charlie Clouser who composed the music for those movies. Clouser returns to work with Wan & Whannell yet again for this film. However, as much as I love his ‘Saw’ music, I think that the music for this movie actually surpasses it. Of course, ‘Hello Zepp’ is more iconic and catchy, and there are some parts of this theme that sound similar to ‘Saw’. But I feel that the little music-box opening and orchestral accompaniment adds just a little extra eeriness to this score.
Wow, I didn’t even get to the acting in this movie yet. The acting was handled pretty competently, for the most part. The film’s protagonist Jaime Ashen(played by Ryan Kwanten) was alright but could’ve been slightly better. Kwanten may be familiar to some of you as Jason Stackhouse from HBO’s ‘True Blood’, so I know he could do better. Then you have some of the other actors, who were pretty hit or miss; with the exceptions being Mary Shaw(played by Judith Roberts) and Det. Lipton(played by Donnie Wahlberg). I know that the rest of you horror fans will recognize Roberts who played Mother Superior in ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ and also gives a threatening performance as the murderous spirit. As for Donnie Wahlberg, I guess he has a knack for playing cynical cop characters. While not as angry as his character from ‘Saw II’, the sardonic personality of Lipton was a nice bit of humor to this kind of movie.
You know what? I get it. I get why the film didn’t do so well upon its release. Critics were most likely desensitized by the other so-called horror films at the time, they had their preconceived notions that ‘Dead Silence’ would also be a failure full of jump-scares. Sure, ‘Dead Silence’ could’ve had better acting from the rest of the cast and maybe fewer jump-scares. But the perfectly creepy score, a great villain, great atmosphere, and a few creepy dolls, it’s worth checking out.
Well, I think it’s time we took a break from these more “serious” horror movies. Next time, we’ll take a look at yet another Halloween icon and…well, let’s just say that I’ll do my best to remain both a professional and a gentleman.
I make no promises. Until then, Gotta Dash!
Written by Shane Moose
A very special thanks to the three big F’s in my life(Friends, Family & Fans) for helping me get this far, pushing me to go even further and for putting up with me when I try going further than that. To hell with my limitations!
Videos & Photos:
Dead Silence(owned by Universal Pictures & Twisted Pictures)
Breakfast At Tiffany’s(owned by Paramount Pictures & Jurow-Shepherd)
Elvira’s Movie Macabre(owned by Panacea Entertainment)