Mute Witness

1995

Mute Witness

Critics Consensus

Mute Witness is a slickly crafted horror/thriller with some surprising comic twists.

83%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 23

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,158
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Movie Info

This British thriller takes many unusual twists and turns as it follows the perils of three young American filmmakers in Moscow. Billy, Karen, and Andy are making a low-budget suspense movie in Moscow. When Billy witnesses a murder, she must struggle to evade the Russian Mafia and stay alive.

Cast

Critic Reviews for Mute Witness

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (4)

  • Waller's witty, well-crafted yet unpretentious thriller--about American youths who make a movie in Moscow and get involved with the underworld--is a seductive piece of filmmaking that should keep viewers hyperventilating to the last reel.

    Nov 19, 2006 | Rating: B

    Emanuel Levy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Though this slight but agreeable nail-biter loses a couple steps before its wrap-up, it's not before offering one of the funniest variations yet on the furious neighbor who wonders what's going on in the upstairs apartment.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4

    Mike Clark

    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • A mute woman as protagonist here is a commentary on all the ways in which women who come forward with stories of violence are disbelieved or outright silenced.

    May 1, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Mute Witness grips us from the start, and never lets up.

    Jun 5, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It feels like Waller poured all the inspiration he ever had into one movie. But for a film forged through a favor and trial-by-fire moviemaking, it earns its place in the panoply of '90s psychological thrillers that throw you for a loop or six.

    Jul 31, 2015 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Great suspense thriller.

    Oct 27, 2005 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for Mute Witness

  • Sep 13, 2010
    Made a long, wide hallway chase look very scary. That cat-and-mouse and the sound of a murder victim screaming for the mute witness would fit well in your nightmares.
    Adam M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 05, 2009
    Billy Hughes is a mute young lady working for make-up on a cheap horror picture being filmed in Moscow by an American director. One night Billy gets locked in the movie studio. Later that night she hears that someone might be in the building and goes to check it out. That's when she stumbles across a woman being brutally murdered, while being filmed. After escaping the clutches of the murderers, Billy informs the authorities, only to be red-faced when the men show it was an act. Billy knows what she saw and soon her life is in turmoil again from underground figures that believe she has something of importance. I don't know how this heart-pounding sleeper passed me by, but I thought it was a much older flick. There's one thing though, it's got to be one of the most jarringly, and intense thrillers I've seen in quite a while. It's just a great suspense builder and mostly everything clicks into place! The first half of the feature is surprisingly gripping with taut sequences that have your heart in your throat and clouds us with an atmospherically foreboding environment of alienation. Underling this is a humorously wicked black streak. Faults do pop up in the story, as it does lose that furious grip it held so early and goofy humour (or better putter comic relief) between Fay Ripley and Evan Richard's characters is a hit and miss affair by being too forceful. In the long run, it probably could have done without. Despite some cringe moments, this aspect didn't hinder my enjoyment of it. For me, the soft ending they decided to go with just didn't feel right. The interestingly mysterious premise was eerie to the bone and packed some unsettling goods. So multi-facet was the context and its thrills, there was something fresh to how this all plays out and the nervy jolts and unbearable tension are weaved into a range of sudden plot turns and twists. Really, they made superb use of the novel idea of this disability and to handicap the situation, by staging it in a foreign place where not too many spoke English and so we are caught up in the confusion too. The delicate Marina Zudina gives a harrowing portrayal of the American mute girl Billy. The way she able to display the erratic emotions through her eyes and actions gave it some gruff and believability. Director Anthony Waller shoots the flick in a rather stylish, well-timed and skillful manner, without loosing that grimy look that eventuates from its rigid surroundings and a powerfully airy music score persistently nags at you. The only real name to make an appearance was small cameo part by Alec Guinness. The performances by the cast were all fine, especially the nail biting turns by Oleg Yankovsky and Igor Volkov as the Russian murderers. This riveting feature that's mostly made up of unknowns, is way better than your average dark thriller.
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2008
    Impressive feat from Anthony Waller when considering his other contribution to cinema history is "An American Werewolf in Paris". He does good delivering a comedy-thriller that is high quality in both parts. Which unfortunately is also it's biggest problem. The beginning intesion, worthy of all the comparison with Hitchcock it's had, climaxes halfway through the movie, and makes it feel like the other half drops the ball. It's never bad though, and certainly worth watching. Especially now that a remake is due out next year. Please note Billy's choice of weapon when the killer comes at her with a power drill in the bathroom. That cracked me up. It also features a certain Sir's last movie appearance as the reaper...
    a z Super Reviewer
  • Jun 24, 2007
    This movie was just too stupid to be believed.
    April N Super Reviewer

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