Combustible Celluloid
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With: Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg, Michael Fairman, Joan Heney, Bob Gunton, Laura Regan, Dmitry Chepovetsky, Judith Roberts, Keir Gilchrist, Steven Taylor, David Talbot, Steve Adams, Shelley Peterson
Written by: Leigh Whannell
Directed by: James Wan
MPAA Rating: R for horror violence and images
Running Time: 91
Date: 03/16/2007

Dead Silence (2007)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Dummy Trouble

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan (Saw) stumble with their follow-up feature, Dead Silence. Though it contains few chilling images, mainly involving creepy ventriloquist dummies and scary faces advancing toward the camera, the story is fairly routine. The ghost of a dead ventriloquist, Mary Shaw (Judith Roberts), exacts her revenge on everyone who ever made fun of her, all their children and grandchildren. The movie starts when Jamie (Ryan Kwanten) and his wife Ella (Laura Regan) receive a dummy on their doorstep. When Jamie goes out for Chinese food, Ella is killed and her face is slit open like a dummy's mouth. A stupid detective (Donnie Wahlberg), who ignores crucial evidence, thinks Jamie did it, but still lets him go. Jamie is apparently unfazed by his wife's death and goes about solving the mystery of the dummy. Most of the climactic action is too dark, but there's a pretty good, memorable twist ending. Bob Gunton and Amber Valletta co-star as Jamie's dad and stepmom.

DVD Details: Universal's DVD comes in an unrated version, which is about one minute longer than the theatrical cut. The theatrical cut wasn't screened for the press and I didn't see it, so I'm not sure what has been added. Extras include an alternate ending and opening, a making-of featurette, deleted scenes, "Mary Shaw's Secrets," "Evolution of a Visual FX" and a music video.

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