There are quite a few horror films that started out as classics and retain that status to this day. Mainly due to iconic characters being introduced within them, such as Child’s Play with Chucky, Hellraiser with Pinhead, Nightmare on Elm Street with Freddy Krueger, and Friday the 13th with Jason Voorhees. However, most of those characters were butchered in the films that came afterward, and yet they still remain classic horror icons. In the case of Dead Silence, the film was destined to be doomed. Yet it still gave birth to one of the most instantly recognizable characters in horror fiction.
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The Movie Review
James Wan is known to be a trendsetter for horror films, his character of the Jigsaw Killer was a massive hit back when the original SAW film came out. However, he followed it up with one of his worst films yet, Dead Silence. It follows the story of a man named Jamie Ashen, who returns to his old town in search of answers for his wife’s mysterious murder. However, upon further diving deeper into the mystery, he realizes that the package he received, which contained an old ventriloquist dummy might hide all the answers that he’s looking for.
In all honesty, I’m not a fan of this film. Dead Silence is a slap in the face of James Wan’s directorial debut. SAW was an amazingly made film, which subverted expectations and did it in a brutal way. Yet Dead Silence feels so bland I’m comparison.
The film lacks that intensity, that drive you expect from a creator such as Wan. It also leaves a lot to be desired, especially when it comes to the film’s plot.
The ventriloquist dummy seems like it would be the perfect catalyst for a horror film character. A monster that essentially everyone can approve of. However, the Billy ventriloquist dummy turned out to be just bad. It was one of the most disappointing turnarounds in horror films and made sure that Dead Silence will forever remain a film that everyone chuckles at the thought of.
The performances are probably the campiest things I’ve seen in a long while. Each and every character in this from is trying their absolute best to be mentally agonizing to watch. That’s all due to the performances, which feel like they’re a plastic waste. Each line of dialogue feels fake, each moment unwanted. Every single character is boring.
The film also looks extremely horrible. It has some of the worst featured cinematography that I’ve seen in a horror film. It tries to overuse colors in some shots while remaining completely monotone in its use of colors in the whole film. The result is an ugly mess of a film that just feels weird to the eye. I don’t think I’ve been repelled by a film’s visuals as hard as I have in Dead Silence.
The Bottom Line
Dead Silence is a film that takes itself so aggressively seriously, that it turns out to be increasingly dumb with each sequence. The characters are boring, the plot is nonexistent and the film just doesn’t look pleasing to the eyes. Wan really wasted his time on this one, it’s a campy horror-comedy more than anything else and it’s not even good at that.