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</script></div>{/googleAds}"Beware the stare of Mary Shaw. She had no children, only dolls." So says Dead Silence, the latest entry from Australian horror pair James Wan and Leigh Whannell creators of the newest ‘doesn't need another sequel' horror juggernaught Saw. But whereas Saw proved to present its creators as a pairing made in horror heaven, Dead Silence has managed to drop them in a completely different place...

Dead Silence tells the story of Jamie Asher (Ryan Kwanten) a young married man whose life is thrown into upheaval the night a ventriloquist doll is mysteriously delivered to his door. The gruesome murder of his wife the same night leads him back to his hometown, and to a deadly fairytale-like mystery that unfolds before him.

This film is HEAVY on homage to the 40's and 50's horror ancestors of yore, with plenty of fog, overdone production design, creepy mansions, gothic statues, and deliberately so. Our Aussie horror wunderkinds are attempting to deliver a sort of fairytale horror film, steeped in the conventions of old, but with some contemporised panache... and this is where they run into trouble, ‘cause its obvious from the moment Jamie goes back to his hometown these two styles mix like a G-String on Pavarotti.

The film begins like an Asian horror film, complete with heavy blue filters, de-saturated cinematography, and a ten-minute-mark shocker. Quickly, though, our hero takes us into a microcosmic yet modern Sleepy Hollow-like world where bad crap happens and no one talks about it.

The character of Mary Shaw is an interesting one. She is original; she is visually creepy; she has an outstanding fairytale back-story (a lot like Freddy Krueger's), but she is the only saving grace in an unnecessarily over-complicated plot. Firstly, the modern setting doesn't lend itself to the HUGE leaps of logic we are asked to accept from the characters. This story is spread over so many generations, with so many different characters, it just becomes an endless siege of badly written, repetitive, exposition scenes that wouldn't be needed if they'd focused on what was cool in the first place: Mary Shaw. The script is an uncharacteristic failure for Whannell.

In complete contrast, Wan's Visual style is a feast. At times atmospheric, and very successfully emulating the older styles it's attempting to honour. Had it been placed in a less contemporary era it would have worked, but being set in present day just comes across as hokey, and makes all the characters seem stupid for even being there. The hero, the cop, and the townsfolk just don't ring true in the modern world, and neither does the town.

The performances are adequate, but hardly interesting not that the actors are given much to work with. Judith Roberts is an impressive exemption as the creepy Mary Shaw (what a shame the character was relegated to this tale).

Special effects and make up are quite a few pegs above the rest of this production, but - just like the character they serve are sadly a wasted effort.

Dead Silence is a horror film high on budget, talented filmmakers, talented actors, crew, and despite all this, misses its target like a blind sniper. The horror films it so ardently tries to replicate work in a modern setting for one reason only: nostalgia. Looking back is fun. Trying to imbue a modern horror pick with those conventions is a recipe for disaster audiences have moved on... way on. If only they had realised this, and taken their back-story and their audience to a time where this type of story worked, maybe we'd have been willing to go with them.


DVD Details:

An 'everyone's so smart and nice and talented' featurette, some deleted scenes, and some quick segments on visual effects and Mary Shaw are the highlights on this dvd

Screen formats: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 presentation

Subtitles: English; French; Spanish

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; deleted scenes.

* Featurettes -
o Making of Dead Silence
o Mary Shaw's secrets
o Evolution of a visual fx
* Deleted Scenes
o 4-minutes of additional footage that didn't make the final cut.
o Alternate ending/opening
* Music Video - "We Sleep Forever" music clip by Aiden
* Previews

Number of discs: - 1 with Keepcase Packaging