One would be hard-pressed to find a more stereotypical, average American Horror movie than DEAD SILENCE. It takes a perfectly creepy premise and expands it into a grossly over-budgeted and over-stylized mess that feels forced at every step. Ventriloquist dummies are frightening enough as they are; they require no computerization, no loud bursts of sound, and certainly no fast-paced editing to make them scary. James Wan attempts to take the rough-cut and modern editing style that worked perfectly in his previous film and adapts it into what should have been a small scale and minimalist production. The result is a series of cheap scares built on loud noises with absolutely no suspense, and a flip book of disjointed plot elements that is supposed to serve as a twist ending a la SAW. While the film offers several classic Gothic elements and atmosphere, such as fog-drenched graveyards and a huge abandoned opera house, these locations feel out of place in the small town setting. Honestly, what is a towering four-story opera house that is only accessible by boat doing in a town with a population just shy of 1,000 people? While the acting isnt terrible, none of the characters are particularly interesting, and even the legend of Mary Shaw feels underdeveloped and passe. The only reason this saw a theatrical release was based on the marketability of Wan after the success of SAW, and as a result it has already fallen into obscurity. An angry husband returns to his small home town after the death of his wife, seeking out the ghost of the ventriloquist he feels is responsible for the death of his wife. Next.
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