Monday, March 22, 2010
Movie Review: Dead Silence
Blogger's note: Minor spoilers for the movie.
So let’s talk about Dead Silence and WOW that’s a movie that’s been on my ‘to be reviewed’ pile for a while. Well, in fairness to me, this movie is so mediocre it is barely even worth mentioning. I bought this movie at a younger time in my life, when I was a lot stupider. I naively believed that if someone creates an awesome movie series that spawns a cult following, they logically should be able to create another one. In this case, those people were James Wan (director of Saw), Leigh Whannell (writer of Saw) and the late Greg Hoffman (producer of Saw).
Like I said, I was stupid. This movie was so bland it didn’t last more than sixteen days in theatres. Here’s the plot-Jamie Ashen receives a mysterious doll named Billy in the mail. While he’s grabbing some food, his wife, Lisa, sets Billy up in the bedroom to scare him. This idea doesn’t go exactly to plan.
After her murder, Jamie goes back to his home town and finds out that Billy actually belongs to a woman named Mary Shaw, a late ventriloquist. While at a performance years ago, Mary Shaw is mocked by a boy named Michael, who claimed to see her lips move. In response, Mary…kills him.
Really, Mary Shaw? You murdered some kid because he claimed to see your lips move? After you verbally whooped his behind in the performance itself? You’re hosting a comedy show and you’re going to kill anyone who gives you a bad review??? Thanks to the internet you might have a very busy schedule.
Anyway, in response to Michael’s disappearance and subsequent death, one of Jamie’s ancestors kills Mary and cuts out her tongue. Mary Shaw returns as a ghost-doll-thingy and then promptly kills pretty much everyone in the town. (Including innocent people who had nothing to do with her murder, of course). How does she do this? By scaring the crap out of people so when they scream she can rip out their tongues. Jamie must defeat Mary Shaw before he becomes her next victim. Or, you know, he could shut his mouth the entire movie and not have to worry. Either way works.
It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly why this movie is so bland, seeing how this might have been an interesting plot. The actors are decent, but the characters themselves are uninteresting and never go beyond their assigned roles. Although the set design is good, there are similar camera angles and ideas borrowed from Saw that really don't work here. The dialogue is atrocious at times and the very idea of evil dolls are just boring. The dolls aren’t even the problem-the real antagonist is Mary Shaw, and she’s easily defeated if people just ignore her.
The only real bright spot in this film is Donnie Wahlberg, who plays Detective Lipton. Lipton is a cop who wants to believe Jamie is innocent of murdering his wife, and at times is deliberately being lazy so Jamie can investigate on his own (“No stop, Jamie, don’t make me chase you-I don’t have a full tank of gas!”) But unfortunately it's not enough to save this film. However if you do need to watch this film, I highly recommend that you watch the alternate ending as well, as that describes the motives of the antagonist a little bit more.
FINAL GRADE: 2 out of 5. Another run-of-the-mill movie. Didn't hate, didn't like, didn't care.
While we're on the subject, what is the obsession with ripping out our tongues, anyway?