The parade of low-budget horror films continues with the release of “Dead Silence.” This latest offering putting young White kids in harm’s way will surely not thrill my movie critic colleagues, but will probably have enough jolts for a solid opening weekend.
Jamie (Ryan Kwanten) and his wife Ella (Amber Valletta) are enjoying an evening at home when an unexpected present arrives at their door. They discover that a ventriloquist doll has been sent to them with no return address information. Instead of immediately disposing of the doll, Ella attempts to use it in a practical joke with her husband. Suddenly, there are strange doings in their apartment and instead of leaving immediately, she uses her “horror film logic” (which means having none) and Jamie comes home to find her dead.
Suddenly, Jamie is under suspicion for homicide and being interrogated by a skeptical Detective Lipton (a weary-looking Donnie Wahlberg). Jamie tries to explain to Lipton that it’s more than just a little coincidental that the “doll” showed up prior to his wife’s murder.
He takes his wife to be buried in their hometown only to encounter the town’s secret about murdered ventriloquist Mary Shaw (Judith Roberts). It seems that her demise is the source of a cautionary tale/nursery rhyme that parents told their children before they went to sleep.
“There is the story of Mary Shaw
She had no children, only dolls
If you see her in your dreams
Make sure that she doesn’t hear you scream!”
If you had the misfortune of screaming, there goes your tongue!
Meanwhile back in Raven’s Fair, Jamie is determined to find out what evil force killed his wife and he uses his horror film logic to full effect. He constantly does things that make no sense including going to a graveyard to bury a doll late at night, going solo to the creepiest place imaginable looking for clues and inexplicably sitting in his car and refusing to leave even though he has ample opportunity to get away. The biggest no-no is that if you THINK that the doll may be involved, why take it everywhere with you (sitting in the seat in your car, bringing it back to your room and putting it in a chair, etc.).
The film is from the filmmaker’s that gave you “Saw” and just like that film, “Dead Silence” participates in “cinematic three-card monty.” This sort of misdirection is effective when it is employed in films like “The Sixth Sense” and “The Usual Suspects.” Unfortunately, this film couldn’t sniff the quality that those films possessed and as a result, I bet you in a month if I asked you about this film your reply would be the film’s title – “Dead Silence.”