Friday, October 14, 2011

Movie Appraisal: Dead Silence (2007)

Okay... well, this certainly was a movie. (I start with that line a lot, don't I?) It was... well, I guess it was kind of good, maybe? I think?

The pacing, for one, was all over the place. The fear and suspense could have been there, the story was certainly compelling enough in a fairy-tale kind of way, but the pacing just blew the whole thing to Hell. I guess that Dead Silence just felt like a movie that was all over the place. Yes, it uses an interesting premise and has creepy moments, but the plot is so convoluted and complicated that it gets confusing quickly. the characters as well are all kind of... well, just there. They exist, but they really have no personality. The main character... I can barely even remember what his personality was supposed to be like. He just seemed so bland. The dialogue was bland. Everything was bland except for the idea and the visuals.

And I did like the visuals. They reminded me of some creepy fairy-tale, and that was really cool. I don't really remember any other horror movie feeling quite so much like a fairy-tale... maybe Sauna, but Sauna was also much lighter (as in tones of the visuals, not subject-matter) than Dead Silence, which seemed altogether darker and grittier, but still felt very much like a fairy-tale... like Hansel and Gretel scared in the middle of the woods... maybe that's just what it made me think, but I did like it.

So, this movie involves ventriloquist dummies, ghosts, tongues being ripped out, and... uh... the "prefect" puppet. Uh... yeah... it involves the protagonist going back to his home and his hometown after his wife is murdered by a dummy that was sent in the mail. Yeah. I guess the whole quality of the movie is incredibly unrealistic, and maybe that's why I see it as fairy-tale logic. The protagonist is suspected of murdering his wife, BUT HE DIDN'T IT WAS A SUPERNATURAL GHOST-DUMMY-THING, YOU MORONS! WHY DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND? Oh, whoops... I seem to have forgotten my "Let's Go Ahead And Believe This Bull-Crap" Pills today.

The visuals are good and the film can be creepy at times, but the whole thing seems undermined by two things. The first is that the movie ends with A TWIST and THE TWIST is really kind of silly. I mean, I kind of liked it, but I can see most people rolling their eyes to it and they wouldn't be wrong. The second thing is that ghosts are silly and stupid and this was not an effective ghost movie in the slightest. Okay, that's kind of partially my opinion, so let me re-phrase that: This movie does not use its ghost(s)/puppets in a logical or understandable way. They don't follow the rules. They don't follow any rules. They just do whatever they want to do. The main ghost, the old lady, Mary Shaw, is completely unstoppable. Now, yes, I know that there are entire horror franchises based upon having an antagonist not being able to be stopped, but those are not movie I like anyway. Slasher films are altogether kind of boring to me. I want to see character development, an arc, a plot that is more than just running away, searching around, and dying. Maybe that's too much to ask. Maybe I'm just too finicky, but I think that I should get that out of these movies. Give me something more than fairy-tale drivel in my horror films, please.

Did I like this film? I......... I guess? I'm not really sure. It wasn't terrible. It had some good scares, but felt... well, it felt soulless. It felt like it didn't have any passion to it, and maybe that's really my biggest problem rather than the nigh-unstoppable cursed ghost-thing or whatever the Hell it was. The acting was lackluster and completely forgettable. The plot had the ability to be good, but was bogged down by bad writing and absolutely horrid pacing, and there was nothing that really engaged me to this movie. I felt wholly removed from it, and I should never feel that way when watching a horror movie. I should be engrossed in it, feeling what the character's are feeling, jumping when they are jumping. When I feel the same thing that is on screen, then the horror movie, or the movie in general, has succeeded admirably, but this movie fell flat.

If you want something mindless which you will ultimately be disappointed with, go ahead and watch this movie, but if not, then it's no great loss if you don't see it.

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