Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dead Silence

Puppets! They're creepy.

Dead Silence is one of the best movies about a killer puppet woman ever made.

It's easy to shrug off a film like Dead Silence.  One look at the DVD box art, with a generic ventriloquist dummy having a "shush" monster finger over his puppet lips, accompanied by the screaming headline FROM THE CREATORS OF SAW might give one cause for alarm.  And with good reason.

I mean, have you seen those Saw movies? They're awful.

But James Wan and Leigh Whannell broke away from the monster they created, and have gone on to make some very spectacular genre films.  Their recent movie, Insidious, is one of the creepiest haunted house movies made in the last decade.  And their film Death Sentence was a nice gritty, violent throwback to 70's revenge films. AND it had Kevin Bacon.

But their first post-Saw film was Dead Silence, a movie almost no one on earth saw in theaters.  I guess everyone was busy seeing Herbie: Fully Loaded with Lindsay Lohan that day (note: I don't know if that movie was out then.)

Dead Silence is a throw-back to old Universal and Hammer horror films.  That is, films with creepy class.  You may be saying, "A CLASSY killer puppet movie?  Get to bed, idiot."  But it's true.  This is as classy a killer puppet film as you will ever see.

Mary Shaw and Billy. Not pictured: Jack Nicholson

Jamie is a boy who grew up in the town of Raven's Fair (sounds like a real, non-scary place!) with his wife Lisa.  They now live in New York (I guess), where it's always raining and they always get Chinese food.

Jamie's wife is cute but she would look a lot better without her weird short hair.  Also, her jawbone gets ripped off her face.

You see, one night, the couple receives a package in the mail.  In said package? PUPPET.

"This reminds me of that old poem!" Lisa says.  "About the woman who had puppet kids and was a ghost!" Okay, she doesn't say exactly that, but close enough.

Anyway, Jamie goes out to get take-out (don't they deliver in New York?) and in the time he is gone, all the sound in the apartment drops out and the puppet kills his wife and the soundtrack screams at us.

Jamie is now a suspect, and Donnie Wahlberg, playing a cop who is constantly shaving, doesn't believe him when he says the puppet is to blame.  Lousy cops, they never suspect the puppet.

Get off the floor, Mary Shaw!  Everyone wants to see your puppets!

Jamie goes back to Raven's Fair to bury his wife, where we learn he has a bad relationship with his father, played by Bob Gunton.  Bob Gunton is a fantastic character actor who has never played a nice man in his entire career, so you just know something is up with him...

Jamie later learns of the legend of Mary Shaw.  She was a ventriloquist who had no children--only dolls.  And I guess she was pure evil.

Years ago, during her act, some fat boy points out that he can see her lips moving, which causes Mary Shaw to have a violent verbal argument with Billy, her puppet.  Later, the fat boy disappears.  Everyone blames Mary, and they kill her. Good job, townsfolk.  Way to let mob justice rule.

Mary stressed in her will that she wants to be TURNED INTO A PUPPET for her funeral.  I shit you not.  And yes, it is as creepy as it sounds.  Puppet Mary is truly terrifying looking, and the filmmakers do a fantastic job showing her in lightning flashes.

What does this all have to do with Jamie?  Why is Donnie Wahlberg always shaving?  Is it even legal to turn someone into a puppet for their funeral?  How the hell did Mary Shaw make all of those dolls?  Why didn't anyone see this movie?

This is not a perfect film.  Some of the acting is wooden (NO PUN INTENDED LOL JK LMAO GET IT PUPPET/WOOD?), and the ending feels a bit abrupt.  But this is a solid little creep film, and if you haven't seen it (and since this movie made 4 dollars at the box office, and that money was from me, my friend Joe, and some guy sitting behind us in the theater, chances are you haven't), you should give it a chance.

I think the man sitting behind us in the theater summed it up best when, at one point during a big reveal, he yelled: "A LOTTA PUPPETS!"


  1. Those are some disturbing puppets.

  2. i shit my pants at thios film