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Dead Silence


Stars: Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Bob Gunton

Director: James Wan

There have been some classic horror films about ventriloquists' evil dummies. But this isn't one of them. Sent just such a grinning dummy in a box mysteriously left outside his front door, Jamie (Kwanten) is appalled to return from takeaway shopping to find his wife (Laura Regan) dead, with her mouth open in a scream and her tongue torn out. Think of the fun CSI would have had with that.

'In the town I come from.' Jamie tells a disbelieving detective (annoyingly played by Wahlberg), 'a ventriloquist's dummy is an ill-omen. It brings bad luck.' Convinced that the dummy is evil, he...burns it, right? Wrong! He puts it in the passenger seat of his car and takes it to his childhood home at Raven's Fair, now a ghost town, where his hated father (Gunton) is on his third wife (Valletta) and in a wheelchair.

Jamie finds the town living under the curse of Mary Shaw (Judith Roberts), a nasty 'vent' who, suspected of the death of a local boy who had heckled her act, had her tongue torn out by a local lynch mob. Since then, all of the culprits and their descendants have died by having their tongues ripped out as they screamed.

The film is actually quite well staged, with some nice-looking individual scenes. But it's poorly written and acted (with continual over-emphasis) and the denouement is quite ridiculous.

David Quinlan

USA 2006. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
89 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 03 Jul 2007