Dead Silence (2007)

Directed by James Wan.  Written by Leigh Whannell.  Starring Ryan Kwanten, Donnie Wahlberg, Amber Valletta, Bob Gunton, Michael Fairman, Joan Heney, Laura Regan and Judith Roberts.

Plot: a man goes to his hometown in search of answers after his wife is brutally murdered.

Let’s begin by saying that I don’t agree with the majority of critics on this one. This macabre movie is anything but boring, like some say. The expertly told story begins with Jamie Ashen (Kwanten) and his wife, Lisa (Regan), recieving a strange ventriloquist’s dummy named Billy, in the mail. With no indication of who he is from, they bring Billy inside. When Jamie leaves the apartment to pick up dinner, Lisa is murdered. When he comes home, he finds her sitting up, but deceased, jaw ripped open, tongue ripped out.

Detective Jim Lipton (Wahlberg) believes Jamie may have murdered his wife, but he has nothing to hold him on. Jamie finds a note about Mary Shaw – a dead ventriloquist from his hometown – in Billy’s box, so he goes home to find out more about her while arranging Lisa’s funeral. Jamie meets with the pleasant mortician, Henry Walker (Fairman), but when he meets his Henry’s wife, Marion (Heney), she warns him that Mary Shaw was a monster and that he needs to bury Billy to stop her.

Jamie’s father, Edward (Gunton), and his young wife, Ella (Valletta), dismiss Jamie’s questions about Mary. Jamie chalks that up to him having a strained relationship with his wheelchair-bound father and he decides to bury Billy anyway. After that, Henry informs him that Mary Shaw had killed a boy when she was alive and the town came together to lynch her as punishment. They also took her tongue out and now she haunts people, and when they scream, she takes their tongues and kills them. Very disturbing.

There’s not many negative comments I have to make about this film. My worst criticism is probably the lack of Freddy Claws. Detective Lipton follows Jamie to town, but refuses to believe anything he has to say about Mary Shaw or her dolls before it’s much too late. Also, I have to tell you that DJ does not like the ending. He was upset that it was not a happy one, but I actually enjoyed it. It was gruesome. The whole movie was gruesome really. The opening is probably one of the most nightmarish things I’ve ever seen. I love that!

This movie fills me with dread every single time I sit down to watch it. I don’t believe that if I saw Mary Shaw I could keep my scream to myself, so I would be dead and tongueless. I’ve accepted that. Although I own the movie, I will not watch it alone. I’m not crazy. Wan and Whannell know just how to effectively haunt me. Plus, there’s that little rhyme that I can’t forget:

Beware the stare of Mary Shaw

She had no children, only dolls

And if you see her, do not scream

Or she’ll rip you’re tongue out at the seam.

I don’t understand why some people don’t find this movie completely disconcerting. It’s obvious that I’m troubled by it and I totally recommend a watch. If possible, you should also take a look at the alternate ending. I think it’s even more distressing than the original one.

My score: 80. DJ’s score: 65.

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