Review: Dead Silence is Freakin' Scary!

March 17, 2007

Dead Silence is the second film directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell, the deadly duo who brought us the first Saw film. It's been over 3 years since his directorial debut and resulting immediate cult status in the horror genre, and many have been eagerly waiting for his next project. This is going to be a really hard review to write because I don't want to give anything away, but let me tell you, it's one hell of a ride!

Dead Silence focuses on Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten), a recent widower who returns to his hometown of Raven's Fair to investigate the mysterious and brutal murder of his wife. He is accompanied by a ventriloquist doll that was left on his front door before his wife died. When he reaches his home town, he starts to unravel a deep secrete about the town's old ventriloquist performer named Mary Shaw, who's ghost story is used to scare children. While the plot might not be the most original or believable, and some sequences can be slightly predictable, Dead Silence offers more genuine scares than Wan's Saw.

Ryan Kwanten in a scene from Dead Silence.Dead Silence Review

Wan learned from the biggest mistake he made in Saw and found better actors this time around. Ryan Kwanten is able to give a very believable performance as his character makes his way through the town's secrets. Donnie Walhberg is funny as the police offer assigned to follow Kwanten's character to the dark town. Overall, the performances are exactly on key with the tone and feel of the film, giving the audience the realism in the otherwise unreal and horrifying story.

Now down to the reason why this film really works. Without giving too much away, the film has a great gimmick, and it's perfect. You know when something scary is going to happen, and it delivers. There are so many suspenseful and genuinely disturbing scenes in the movie. Even if you don't think dolls are scary, there are so many more elements in the film that generate an outstanding atmosphere that only a true Universal monster movie could. Authentically so, since Universal is the studio to distribute this movie.

Finally, I really connected with Dead Silence because of the film's lack of gore. Shocking I know. Wan is able to pull off brilliant scares, avoiding the least amount of gratuitous gore as he can - and the film doesn't need it. So many horror films are about nothing but gore - it's the aspect that gets audiences to see the film. Wan avoids this, boldly, and creates a horror film that anyone looking for a fun time and some screams will love.

Donnie Walhberg and Ryan Kwanten with one of the dolls in Dead Silence.Dead Silence Review

Last Word
Dead Silence is not perfect, but it puts Saw back in the bathroom as far as horror films go. This is homage to true horror films like The Exorcist and Magic. I know that it's too early in the year to state what the best horror film of the year is, but as far as I'm concerned, Dead Silence is officially at the top of my list. James Wan and Leigh Whannell make a great team, and two for two isn't bad. Do yourself a favor and see Dead Silence, but remember, don't scream!

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Reader Feedback - 10 Comments


The towns name is Raven's Fair 😛 Usually I wouldnt say anything because critics are annoying, reccomending those ratings that prevent friends from seeing a movie together without having a parent with them...

Shane Johnston on Mar 23, 2007


AWESOME movie!!! I am addicted to horror films and few really make me jump/scream. This one did, not once, but numerous times!!! The theme is new and fresh, the scenery wonderfully spooky, and the sound effects fantastic!! The team that created this did a remarkable job, its old school scary that will leave you holding your breath for more!!! Great job!

Jenna on Apr 1, 2007


I'm watching "Dead Silence" as I type, and I must say that is is AMAZING! =] I love it!

Rubi on Aug 15, 2007


I love the film - it is fu*king scary man!!!!! SCARY PUPPETS RULE!!! BEWARE THE STARE OF MARY SHAW (and the stare of me - i have inherited it after her death, as i am her own flesh-and-blood, aka daughter LOL)

natalie on Jan 28, 2008


dead silence is too scary of a movie it looks too fake sorry to be rude but the dolls and mary shaw way too fake and mary shaw looks too fake you can totaly tell she has make up.

sidney on Feb 24, 2008


I heard about the movie before, but I actually witnessed it for myself and all I have to say is EXCELLENT. This is one of the best horror movies I've ever watched, I never wanted to blink.

Patrine on Apr 18, 2008


omfgg. I saw this for the first time yesturday morning and again the same night. I still jumped. xD Now I am finding myself humming the little tune Billy hums before he attacks... and randomly saying: "Beware the stare of Mary Shaw, She had no children, only dolls. And if you see her in your dreams, Be sure to never, ever scream."

melissaaa. on Oct 26, 2008


Yay, this one is my favorite!!! I love it! 😀

Susan on Jan 22, 2010


this movie is amazing, a reallt thriller, i loved it and now i watch it alot, ive now got it on dvd and its one of my favourite horrors followed by paranormal activity which is also and amazing horror, You must see this film but dont watch it alone expecially if you have potdolls 😐

georgia on Oct 21, 2010


This is an amazing film I'm like 12 and watched it with my best mate but it's not really SCARY it just makes you jump and its abit gross at timees

Emily Rebecca on Nov 19, 2010

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