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Dead Silence (2006)

tomatometer

21

Average Rating: 3.9/10
Reviews Counted: 76
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 60

More tasteful than recent slasher flicks, but Dead Silence is undone by boring characters, bland dialogue, and an unnecessary and obvious twist ending.

29

Average Rating: 4.2/10
Critic Reviews: 14
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 10

More tasteful than recent slasher flicks, but Dead Silence is undone by boring characters, bland dialogue, and an unnecessary and obvious twist ending.

audience

52

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 217,879

My Rating

Movie Info

Saw duo James Wan and Leigh Whannell re-team for this chilling tale of a widower (Ryan Kwanten) who returns to his hometown to unearth clues about his recently departed wife's untimely death. In the quiet town of Ravens Fair, children taunt one another with spooky stories about a ventriloquist whose mind was ravaged by insanity. Mary Shaw was a popular entertainer until she was accused of murdering a young boy. Subsequently hunted and captured by the vengeful townspeople, Mary's tongue was cut

R,

Mystery & Suspense, Horror

Leigh Whannell, James Wan

Jun 26, 2007

$16.5M

Universal Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (77) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (60) | DVD (16)

Wan and Whannell have a carnivalesque sense of fun and a sure instinct for recycling classic horror tropes, but their characters are so flat and their plotting so listless that this low-budget feature fails to generate much suspense.

December 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's affectionately done, but rather pointless.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Terrified of puppets? Enjoy being scared? Then you'll be half-satisfied with Dead Silence, a rote horror pantomime.

March 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Dolls are innately unnerving, but the movie's semi-menacing Charlie McCarthys never live up to their potential.

March 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Armed with a decent budget, director James Wan and co-screenwriter Leigh Wannell fashion at least a dozen sequences that are spooky even while they defy logic.

March 20, 2007 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movies have always asked us to suspend our disbelief, but Dead Silence demands our ignorance of its own derivations. A conflation of the horror genre's laziest tropes, plot angles and shorthands.

March 20, 2007
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A very creepy little ditty that works once it rears up to the second half.

June 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

A Nightmare on Dummy St. from Saw creators.

December 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

All dolls are inherently freaky, but there's something seriously bent about a little wooden man with bulging eyes, shiny cheeks, and perfect chompers.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Georgia Straight

Plodding and bereft of suspense, "Dead Silence" is an irredeemable jumble of cliché genre fragments.

April 26, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com | Comment (1)
ColeSmithey.com

"Dead Silence" is not going to reinvent the genre. It's actually a big pile of nonsense, but that doesn't stop it from being fun nonetheless.

April 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Beyond Hollywood | Comments (3)
Beyond Hollywood

It's awful. It eats your soul, it's so awful.

September 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy | Comments (2)
Antagony & Ecstasy

All Wan and Whannell know is shock-and-awe tactics. They may shock, but there's no awe.

July 29, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

For the love of Chucky, avoid this insipid attempt at reviving the killer doll horror.

July 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

...an ambitious misfire.

July 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

There's something quaintly charming about the filmmakers' unabashed affection for their inspirational source material, although the sense of over-familiarity means that none of it is in the least bit scary.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Poorly written, badly directed and ultimately scare-free horror flick that's further hindered by dismal performances and unintentionally laughable dialogue.

July 7, 2007 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

It's woefully flat and not nearly as scary as it thinks it is. It almost makes one yearn for Saw. But not quite.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

I admit that I didn't see the daft last-minute twist coming, and sort of admired it, but for the rest you'd need an extravagant love of hokum not to feel mildly bored.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

Dead Silence is redeemed by a so-bad-it-is-good factor.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Sun Online | Comment (1)
Sun Online

It's also a bit shocking that a movie this mediocre is getting a cinema release at all. Dead Silence more resembles one of those five-quid DVDs you find in petrol stations.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mirror [UK]
Daily Mirror [UK]

This is Days Of Our Lives for the living dead - possibly the only film in history to prompt the reaction, 'That would have been worse, if not for Donnie Wahlberg's acting talent!' and far more predictable than you'd expect from the director of Saw.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

"Who's the dummy now?" she rasps. Well, you are if you waste your hard-earned on this tepid retread of Dickie Attenborough's 1978 Magic, a curious stumble from Leigh Whannell and James Wan after the success of their Saw gore-fests.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

there's something about its overblown stormy-night atmospherics and reliably dismal dialogue that's bad in almost a fun way. I'd rather laugh through this kind of harmless, rickety schlock, any day, than grimace through Saw III.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

A reasonable shocker.

July 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

Audience Reviews for Dead Silence

I kinda liked it...though I'm probably in the minority. I'm terrified of puppets/dolls coming alive, so this movie freaked me out. I've watched so many horror films and I'm not phased by anything...except puppets/dolls. Ever since I was a kid, I thought they were just so fucking creepy. So this movie definitely scared me more than most of the horror films I've watched. I thought it was pretty decent. And damnnn Ryan Kwanten...every time his gorgeous Australian accent slipped through....I loved it.
The characters were fairly underdeveloped, and it was kind of predictable, but whatever. It was a pretty good B-movie. The pacing seemed a little fast for my taste, maybe that's why the characters weren't developed as well. But other than that, I can't complain. The twist at the end was cool. I'd watch it again.
September 30, 2011
Japes
Japes .

Super Reviewer

There are two things in this world that creeps the hell out of me: the first being clowns and the second being evil puppets. Terrifyingly enough, this movie has both! Now, I'll be honest here and say that I didn't expect much out of this film. In fact, I was but a word of discouragement away from skipping it altogether. But I'm very pleased that I didn't, because this was so much better than I first gave it credit for. In similiarity to Insidious, it's a very atmospheric production, with spooky, nightmarish settings, enveloped in mist and spine-tingling tension. Although the characters are one-dimensional and pretty brainless in their actions, there's a lot to love about the movie in terms of scare factors and excitement. All-around, the directing is superb, and it feels like one of those old-school horror movies that I used to watch as a kid. Surely not to everyone's taste, but if you like Kwan's other films, then you'll probably enjoy this one as well. And did I mention how seriously creepy it is?
August 23, 2011
CloudStrife84
Mike S

Super Reviewer

A creepy horror film with a high production value and good cast. There might not be a high enough body count for some, or for it to be classed as a slasher anyway. However it does have a spooky atmasphere with the creepy dolls. Not the most original or scary film, but at least it tried something new and different, among the endless carbon copy horrors being released these days. I have to add for a horror film the photography is great, you really can tell the attention to detail in every shot, from the angle, framing, lighting and colours. You don't notice that in many horror films!
August 8, 2011
Deano78

Super Reviewer

Well I gotta admit this did sort of spook me which did surprise as I was expecting another silly killer doll film much like the Puppet Master series. Instead we have an intelligent chiller about a curse from a dead woman back in the 40's who was accused of killing a boy and was murdered by the local townsfolk in revenge, thus she returns from the grave to wreak revenge on descendants of the townsfolk using her beloved dolls as a kind of terror calling card and a way of getting to her victims.

Doesn't sound too great I know but its actually a really decent horror with plenty of little jump moments and allot of nice imagery and visual spookery from dark eerie houses, hallways and graveyards to the ever popular and unnerving close ups on sinister doll faces along with creepy moving eyes.

A nice cast help the film along with lead Ryan Kwanten (looking abit like Pat Swayze) being a likeable innocent detective of the mystery, Michael Fairman playing the old coroner warning of the impending dangers, Donnie Wahlberg as the tough take no crap police detective and Bob Gunton as Kwantens father. The whole film just moves along really well and has clearly been directed and put together with some care and attention, this isn't just a sloppy horror flick, a nice twist in the tale completes the story wrapping it up in a nice chilling bow :)
July 18, 2011
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

    1. Jamie Ashen: What did Michael Ashen and our family have to do with Mary Shaw!?
    – Submitted by Baurushan J (18 months ago)
    1. Jamie Ashen: Lisa this is NOT FUNNY!
    – Submitted by Baurushan J (18 months ago)
    1. Jamie Ashen: What do you want me to tell you!
    2. Detective Lipton: Something less perplexing than a ghost story.
    – Submitted by Nick S (22 months ago)
View all quotes (3)

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