Title: Dead Silence
Release Date: March 16, 2007
Plot: After his wife’s mysterious death, and the delivery of an odd package, a man returns to his hometown to uncover the mystery behind it all. Pointless filler then occurs.
Review: Usually I enjoy the work of James Wan, this however, meanders around with no attempt at building tension. Before I continue I should mention something: dolls don’t scare me in the slightest. Call me overly brave, but a three foot tall thing you can punt across a room doesn’t strike terror in my heart. This movie focuses on dolls, so my view may be slightly skewed and sour to this one. I mean, look at the thing…
You can have this thing turn its head and give me the stink eye all day , I’m still gonna laugh at it while kicking it across a room. This thing appears at the door of Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten)and his wife Lisa (Laura Regan), in an unmarked package. And, Jamie, showcasing his utter brilliance, brings it in and opens it. He’s not exactly a restrained or bright one. His wife, proceeds to mess with it and do nothing of substance. Seeing as she dies eight minutes in, I fail to see much point to her character, other than as a plot device.
After her death, Jamie returns to the crime scene, reexamines the box, and on a whim, rips the lining , revealing the origin of the doll : his old hometown. I smell a road trip. But not before we meet the best thing about this movie: Donnie Wahlberg. Yes, Wahlberg returns, this time as a snarky, asshole detective. I love his sass in this film. Beyond that,the actual cinematography is gorgeously done. With a better atmosphere and story, this could have been really creepy.
One trip through ghost town number 1009 later, and we meet the rest of our cast. Jamie’s absentee father (Bob Gunton) and his third wife Ella (Amber Valletta). One scene of arguing later, and its revealed Jamie is a bit of a dick himself. Not that I mind, as this was mildly entertaining. Yeah, I had to reach in this one. The creepy bits are watered down and take way too long to get to. A lack of atmosphere doesn’t help here.
Besides Wahlberg, crazy lady Marion Walker (Joan Henry) is enjoyable to watch. She carries around a stuffed bird, talks to nothing, and serves as creepy exposition, along with her husband.
On to our villain, Mary Shaw. She does very little, besides in one scene where she actually attempts to be scary. She hides behind her dolls, all 101 of them. Yeah, she was a bit of a crazy doll lady. She had them buried when she died. All. Of. Them. And in a twist that I was too bored to care about, she’s revealed to be the third wife. Yes, really. She created a life-like doll, married and killed Jamie’s dad, and then puppeteered the corpse around. Because, plot? I got nothing. She has a grudge against the family, but why keep his corpse around?
Highlights: The scenery is beautifully creepy and could have been the setting of a really great film. Instead, it meanders, and doesn’t attempt to build any solid atmosphere. Donnie Wahlberg and Marion make for some laughs, but that’s about it.
Recommendation: If you have a fear of dolls, this might do something for you, but I see no reason to watch this instead of something with a similar plot.
Next week we return to Hellraiser, and all of the gore and horror that entails.