Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dead Silence: All The Things She Said Running Through My Head Running Through My Head ALL THE THINGS SHE SAID

Sometimes Netflix plays tricks on you. One minute you're waiting in eager anticipation for The Baby to be delivered to you and the next, Dead Silence is being sent to you because The Baby decided to fall into the dreaded, "Long Wait" land. I keep forgetting to populate the top of my queue with films that I actually want to see in case this ever happens but darn it--I FORGOT. This is why I was subjected to an hour and 30 minutes of terribleness. Curse you Dead Silence and all you Saw loving people that made it.

I will tell you all right now that I hate movies like Dead Silence. I have many reasons for this so don't worry but I'm letting you know right now that I hate it. Actually, I just ate a pretzel and changed my mind. Instead of a review this post is going to be a list of reasons why I hate Dead Silence.

1. Sloppiness

Dead Silence, like many of the more current horror films being released is interesting in its idea yet poorly executed. Dead Silence falls victim to bad story telling in this case and is populated by the ever pressing need to cram as many ridiculous things into it at once. We start with a simple premise of a woman who was mysteriously murdered by what appears to be a ventriloquist dummy. We then catch wind of some broad named Mary Shaw who happens to have her own creepy nursery rhyme. THEN there's some old town history. THEN the real story behind Mary Shaw and THEN the idea of all of her ventriloquist dummies being her children, THEN the fact that Mary probably killed some kid and how her dummies all can come to life yet she only decides to use Billy and then oh right if you scream, she kills you and blah blah blah then PLOT TWIST. Right.

The plot of this movie is perfectly aligned to the image of Mary Shaw's tongue licking people.

It feels stupid, it looks stupid and it is stupid. There's simply too many ridiculous things happening at once that it becomes hard for it to hold your attention.

2. Improper Use of Creepy Dolls

Creepy dolls are one of those things that is not hard to mess up. By nature, dolls are creepy, and putting them in any movie is usually a sure way to win a lot of scares. The problem with Dead Silence is that it completely abuses that power. The dolls are not scary in Dead Silence because they look too current, feel kind of Gothic (Billy's eyeliner was a little thick), and are often assisted by use of CGI. Not only that, they just don't do anything creepy other than move their eyes to the side.

I expected Dead Silence to scare the pants off of me in the doll department. I was once so terrified of a Daisy Duck marionette puppet I had received as a Christmas present, that I threw it in my closet and never looked back. Dead Silence however, made me laugh. What a waste of some real creepy potential.

3. Improper Use of Donnie Wahlberg

I came to a sad realization today. Donnie Wahlberg briefly had some true potential in his acting career. Take a look at the Sixth Sense--his role as Vincent Grey was one of the most chilling things to happen in the entire film.

Pop Quiz:
Donnie Wahlberg is cast in a movie, what part does he get?

A. Detective
B. Guy with Boston Accent
C. Detective with Boston Accent
D. Douche bag with Boston Accent
E. All of these, usually.

The correct answer is obviously E. Take a look at his IMDB credits. I was pretty unsurprised to find that about 80% of them involve the words Detective or Lieutenant. Movies like this only enforce the stereotype that Donnie Wahlberg can only play one character. Characters like this that have to carry around an electric shaver in their pocket--turn Donnie Wahlberg into a farce. A FARCE. Get this man some normal roles that do not involve being a cocky douche bag. I know he can do it.

4. CGI

Mary Shaw had the potential to also be really scary, seeing as how she could float all over the place and seeing as how her face looked scary and stuff like that. But really good make up was often times replaced by terrible CGI, which diminished her scare factor quite a bit.

Not only that, but the victims' faces were terrible looking. The first time I didn't know what it meant. Did Victor Crowley rip their face in half?

It also wasn't even a little bit gross which is quite surprising seeing as how this film comes from the Saw people. But this problem also goes back to the film's overall sloppiness. Seemingly important details about how or why Mary Shaw does what she does is conveniently left out till crucial parts later in the film. Like how suddenly, we aren't suppose to scream and oh FYI the victims look like that because their tongues got ripped out...? CGI ruins everything.

God, even the buildings were CGI. I have a really hard time believing that a structure like the giant sized theater existed in the 1940s. If you want to creep people out use a real creepy building that doesn't look like someplace Jigsaw took his latest victims to.

5. Boring

It took me all day to watch this movie. I stopped it about 50 times because it was incredibly boring. Slow burners are great, but Dead Silence doesn't do anything in the time that it is being slow. Nothing happens that builds the suspense. Nothing happens that excites me. And nothing makes me feel like cowering behind a blanket. In fact the number one offense that Dead Silence truly commits--is that it really isn't scary in the slightest. There are fake scares, also known as jump scares--but that's about it.

One of the more annoying things that I noticed was that the audience was often given too much of a look into what was happening. Because we already know that people were killed in some brutal way (because we saw it), the whole idea of the victims' "voice" calling out to the main guy (I already forget his name because I hate this movie so much) was completely useless as a means to create suspense. We have to sit there and watch main guy search around an empty building for god knows how long till he figures out that the person is dead. WE KNOW THEY ARE DEAD. It was just a really strange choice. Suspense and anxiety could have been utilized in a much better way--like more shots of Billy being somewhere, and then not--Or maybe taking a more classic route--scary noises! Anything is better than what happened here.

6. I Don't Get It

I don't get why Mary Shaw is strangely gifted with a supernatural power of limitless proportions. Or why her tongue can get that long and gooey. Is she a witch? How does she do things? Why can she do those things? To me it isn't warranted. As far as we know she was just a batty old lady who had an unhealthy relationship with ventriloquist dolls. She made no deal with the devil, she wasn't dabbling in VooDoo and she actually was kind of a shitty ventriloquist (I could see your lips moving too Mary). I agree that bad guys don't necessarily need explanation but all those bad guys are so terrifying that we don't need to know. Their evil creates their power--Mary Shaw however is just a scary old lady. What's her schtick really? She's just not defined enough as a "bad person".

I also don't get the whole perfect doll business. That woman's a doll? Really? I don't buy it because she is not created with the use of CGI.

7. Ugly

I admit I'm not a fan of the Saw generation of film making. It's such a huge leap away from the kind of horror films that I love. It feels so ugly to me. Like no care is taken in the film making. It doesn't have to be literally beautiful---but just appreciated, respected. No care is really taken here at all. There's an attempt maybe in showing one really bright red car in a landscape of filth but it isn't pulled off.

Industrial, gritty, blue, grey, black. It's drab, it's kind of nihilistic and I don't like it at all.

Okay I'm tired. Look. Dead Silence could have been somebody-- but it's not. It's poorly executed, it's too all over the place, it's not scary and it does nothing for me. It's fine if it does something for you--really, I'm happy for you but unfortunately I think it is pretty terrible. It's just the less talented, less attractive cousin of Saw--which isn't saying much to begin with. I also did not appreciate that blatant Saw rip off at the end there. I think they may have even used the same music for the big reveal! And nice try...sneaking in the little Saw doll into this shot.

I'm not fooled.

So.............yeah that's all. I mean it's saying something if I wanted to go watch Frogs instead of this right?

In other news...

Remember t.A.T.u? Fake lesbians! I just noticed they aren't even making out in half of these shots. Fake lesbians. Fake Kissing. What's next? Fake feelings?


Anonymous said...

ooooo I hate fake lesbians!

CashBailey said...

Yeah, this movie is an absolute mess. I think a few more passes at the script would have ironed out a lot of the stupidity that constantly derails it.

Watching Ryan Kwanten be so boring and lifeless in this it's a shock just how good he is on TRUE BLOOD.

I guess it just proves that James Wan is poison with actors.

Michele (TheGirlWhoLovesHorror) said...

I can't help it, I kind of dig Dead Silence. It's the doll thing... they creep me the eff out. It's full of cheap scares and cheap plot twists but I thought it was a fun movie to watch.

The Mike said...

I'm pretty sure this is the second time in a week or two that you've made me almost choke. Eating and reading your posts is a recipe for PAIN. (#6, in particular, almost caused death by grilled cheese.)

That said, totally agree. I couldn't find any reason to like this movie.

Andre Dumas said...

That's it get out Girlwholoveshorror! Just kidding : )
I'm actually happy that you enjoy this film. I wanted to so badly because I also have a strange affinity for creepy dolls. But these dolls just weren't creepy enough for me, and it breaks my heart!

The Mike- I am both pleased and worried. I hope you have an on call EMT while you read my posts. I can lose my Twitter husband.

Fred [The Wolf] said...

Yeah, this film is pretty terrible. It almost made my WTF? Worst Films Extravaganza when I reviewed it two years ago. I don't even remember why it isn't even in there. I guess I was in a good mood. But yeah, I watched it once and will never watch it again. I don't even care what it's about. I'll try and pretend it never existed. Mary Shaw who? Exactly. Great review and I'm sorry you had to suffer through this.

B.STANK said...

Terrible movie...There are scarier puppets in Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas! Hopefully the Saw franchise is REALLY over...and James Wan and Leigh Whannell have made nothing but crap since the first SAW.

Christine Hadden said...

Once someone has watched MAGIC, I doubt there's much reason to think any other film with dolls or puppets could be as frightening. (Except maybe that damn laugher in Deep Red!)

The only reason to even consider this movie, at least from my point of view, is Ryan Kwanten. He puts in a total Paul Walker performance here though. Nice to look at but a real dud. [Truly shocking he got his shit together enough to get hired on True Blood, where he dares to bare and I'm seriously okay with that.]

Great list btw :)

Scared said...

I saw this one a few months ago for the first time and I thought I was going to see something good. Remember how classic horror movies were the best at creating a creepy atmosphere? One great way to do that is with sound. I thought Dead Silence was going to be a tour de force of horrifying soundscapes like, don't show the monster but let the audience hear it and imagine what it is. Instead it was a boring, confusing mess. I knew I was in trouble when the hero's dad comes out in a wheelchair with ten minutes of completely unnecessary exposition. That was one scene that needed a lot more silence.

Andre Dumas said...

Quite right Fred, it is definitely forgettable. Nothing stands out and nothing even remotely made me want to capture a screen grab--which to me is a sure sign that I'm BORED.

B.Stank don't kid about hoping Saw is really over...my heart could never handle another one. IT HAS TO BE OVER.

Chris- Thanks : ) I agree of course. Especially with that puppet doll from Deep Red. I don't think I'll ever get over that damn scene. I really had no idea that the main guy is in True Blood...I'm so oblivious and also I don't watch True Blood so I guess it's understandable..!

Scared- Indeed. Dead Silence suffers quite a bit from its lack of atmosphere. As the title suggests it should be "silent" but it's not. It's over crammed with shittiness, and LOUD jump scares.

DVD Infatuation said...

I definitely agree that it's a forgettable movie. I saw this when it first came to DVD, and I'll be darned if I can remember more than 5 minutes of it!

Dolls like this can certainly be creepy, and the potential for something great was there, but the film didn't deliver.

Anonymous said...

It's the best article I had ever seen

babybazooka said...

To be fair, the CGI tongues were added to the unrated version. When i saw it in theaters it had NO tongue and it was sooo much better. The scene with Henry's death was such a better cut without her "stealing" his tongue and originally Ryan Kwanten's character didn't get licked in the face. He jumped back in horror with the revelation that his wife was killed because she was pregnant. Also they had a different unfinished ending on the DVD which explains the ending a lot better instead of just like HEY IVE BEEN CONTROLLING HER, BOO! END MOVIE! I can't blame you for hating it if you've only seen the DVD version with the tongue and don't know about the better ending :(

Maranda said...

All I have to say is:
Have you ever sat down and actually watched the Saw movies? <3

Andre Dumas said...

Yes, and they are the worst.

Anonymous said...

I didn't hate it, but I never felt the urge to watch this after I'd seen it once.

The puppet from Saw makes a brief appearance (I guess it was meant to be an easter egg- but it's not hard to spot) and that was about the most exciting moment in the movie for me.