Dead Silence

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This article is about the 2007 horror film. For the Billy Talent album, see Dead Silence (album). For the 1997 film of the same name starring James Garner, see Dead Silence (1997 film).
Dead Silence
Dead silence.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by James Wan
Produced by Mark Burg
Oren Koules
Gregg Hoffman
Screenplay by Leigh Whannell
Story by James Wan
Leigh Whannell
Starring Ryan Kwanten
Amber Valletta
Donnie Wahlberg
Michael Fairman
Joan Heney
Bob Gunton
Judith Roberts
Laura Regan
Music by Charlie Clouser
Cinematography John R. Leonetti
Edited by Michael Knue
Production
company
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • March 16, 2007 (2007-03-16)
Running time
89 minutes
92 minutes (Unrated cut)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[1]
Box office $22,217,407[2]

Dead Silence is a 2007 supernatural psychological horror film directed by James Wan and written by Leigh Whannell, the creators of Saw. The film stars Ryan Kwanten, Judith Roberts, Donnie Wahlberg, and Amber Valletta.[3]

Plot[edit]

Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) and his wife, Lisa (Laura Regan) receive an anonymous ventriloquist doll called "Billy". While Lisa is playing with Billy, all sounds are suddenly muted as a figure approaches her, causing her to scream. Jamie, who was out buying dinner, finds her dead with her tongue cut off. After Jamie is released from custody by Detective Jim Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg) due to a lack of evidence, he spots inside Billy's box a writing of "Mary Shaw", a ventriloquist from his hometown, Raven's Fair.

At Raven's Fair, Jamie visits his estranged, wealthy, and wheelchair-bound father, Edward (Bob Gunton), and his much-younger wife, Ella (Amber Valletta), for information regarding Mary Shaw. Dismissing them as superstitions, Jamie arranges for Lisa's funeral with the help of a local mortician, Henry Walker (Michael Fairman). While wandering around the cemetery, Jamie meets with Henry's senile wife, Marion (Joan Heney), who tells him of the danger of Mary and her puppet, Billy. After burying Billy, Jamie is confronted by Lipton, the latter still doubting Jamie's innocence, and forces him to dig up Billy.

Jamie questions Henry, who finally tells him about Mary Shaw. Shaw (Judith Roberts) was a famous ventriloquist who was publicly humiliated at one showing when a boy, Michael (Steven Taylor), pointed to her moving mouth. Michael disappeared the next day, and his family blamed it on Shaw, whose last wish was to have her body turned into a dummy and buried with her 101 dolls. Henry, then the young son (Keir Gilchrist) of the local mortician, saw Shaw, having executed by Michael's family, rose up, but he was spared thanks to his having shut his mouth, since Shaw only kills those who scream. Jamie heads back to his father's residence and finds out that Michael was his great uncle; the Ashen family were the one who killed Shaw by cutting her tongue, and she has been seeking revenge against their entire bloodline by killing them the same way.

At the morgue, Henry is tricked by Shaw with his wife's sounds and killed. Meanwhile, Lipton digs up the graves surrounding Shaw's but discovers that all of the dolls had been dug up. He informs this to Jamie, who receives a call from "Henry" asking him to go to Shaw's theater. The duo head there and discover 100 of the dolls lining up as well as Michael's body, which was turned into a marionette. Through a doll, Shaw reveals to Jamie that she killed Lisa because she was pregnant with his son, thus killing any potential newborn of the Ashen family. Jamie and Lipton burn the theater and all of Shaw's dolls, though Lipton is killed in the process.

Jamie attempts to retrieve Billy from the morgue, only to find Marion grieving over Henry. Heading to his father's residence, Jamie is confronted by Shaw but repels her by throwing Billy into the fireplace. However, he is horrified to learn that Edward had already died a long time ago; the current "Edward" is a doll controlled by Ella, who is the "perfect doll" mentioned by Shaw in her writings and created just before her death. He screams as Ella goes after him. The film ends with Jamie reciting Shaw's poem, as well as a photo book showing human puppets of Lisa, Henry, Lipton, Edward, Ella, and Jamie, before Shaw closes the book.

Cast[edit]

Release[edit]

Dead Silence was released in the United States on March 16, 2007,[4] with an "R" rating.

Box office[edit]

In the United States, as of April 16, 2007, the film's total gross has been worth US$16.5 million (according to Box Office Mojo), and screenings of Dead Silence were ceased in most theaters sixteen days following its release; the film's estimated production budget was US$20 million. As of April 1, 2009, US$5,408,331 has been generated globally.[5] Tentative plans for a sequel were abandoned.[citation needed]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received generally negative reviews; Rotten Tomatoes rated the film with a 21% "Rotten" based on 76 reviews with a consensus of "More tasteful than recent slasher flicks, but Dead Silence is undone by boring characters, bland dialogue, and an unnecessary and obvious twist ending."[6]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD on June 26, 2007 with an "unrated" version was released, and the same occurred for the HD DVD product. The film has since grossed US$17,304,718 in overall DVD sales.[7]

Dead Silence was released on Blu-ray Disc in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2010.[8] In May 2015, it was announced that Universal Studios would be releasing the film to Blu-ray Disc in the U.S., set for release on August 11, 2015.[9]

Soundtrack[edit]

Dead Silence Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Charlie Clouser, Aiden
Released March 16, 2007
Genre Score, horror punk, gothic rock
Length 51:19
Label Lakeshore Records
Producer Charlie Clouser, Aiden
Charlie Clouser, Aiden chronology
Saw III
(2006)
Dead Silence
(2007)
Saw IV
(2007)
Singles from Rain in Hell, Dead Silence
  1. "We Sleep Forever"
    Released: March 2007

Lakeshore Records released the soundtrack of Dead Silence on March 20, 2007. The CD contains 31 tracks, the first track being the song "We Sleep Forever" performed by American rock band Aiden (despite not actually being featured within the film itself). The rest of the CD is taken up by Charlie Clouser's film's score. Clouser has worked on many film scores such as the Saw series and Resident Evil: Extinction.

Track listing
  1. "We Sleep Forever" – Aiden
  2. "Main Titles" [2:56]
  3. "Sheet" [1:08]
  4. "Blood" [1:41]
  5. "Apartment" [1:28]
  6. "Raven's Fair" [0:59]
  7. "Dad's House" [0:47]
  8. "Ella" [1:29]
  9. "My Son" [1:03]
  10. "What Poem?" [1:31]
  11. "Caskets" [1:57]
  12. "Motel Hearse" [1:22]
  13. "It Can't Be" [1:40]
  14. "Funeral" [0:49]
  15. "Billy" [2:42]
  16. "Perplexed" [1:25]
  17. "Steal Billy" [0:50]
  18. "Lips Moving" [1:57]
  19. "Coffin" [2:16]
  20. "Photos" [1:36]
  21. "Map Drive" [0:49]
  22. "Guignol" [1:57]
  23. "He Talked" [3:06]
  24. "It's Soup" [2:09]
  25. "Full Tank" [1:49]
  26. "Doll Wall" [1:37]
  27. "All the Dolls" [1:07]
  28. "One Left" [0:27]
  29. "Mary Shaw" [0:31]
  30. "Dummy" [1:05]
  31. "Family Album" [0:37]

Alternate footage[edit]

Many alternate scenes were released on the unrated DVD and HD DVD and are listed below:

  • Detective Lipton has a conversation with his colleague before interrogating Jamie on Lisa's death.
  • Mary Shaw's performance at the theater is extended.
  • Jamie walking through Mary Shaw's property is slightly extended.
  • The unrated version depicts Detective Lipton rowing the boat towards the dilapidated theater to chase Jamie.
  • Mary Shaw is depicted several times throughout the unrated version with a long, slimy tongue, made of numerous tongues from her victims. In the scenes, she uses her tongue to frighten her victims, making it slither from her mouth (and licks Jamie's cheek in one scene). Along with the tongues of her victims, Mary acquires their voice as well.
  • Jamie attempting to swim out of the theater is slightly extended.
  • In an alternate ending, Ella simply knocks Jamie out after he discovers his father was a puppet all along. Then, she explains that the original Ella was a human being with Edward as an abusive husband. Edward knocked her down the stairs, and killed their unborn child. Ella dug up the grave where the puppet Billy was buried, and became possessed by Mary Shaw. Afterward, Ella makes a family photograph, and then, dressed as Mary Shaw, tells a bedtime story to a child by candlelight, later revealed to be Jamie with his tongue ripped out (or would have been had they added the visual effect planned). This story is the poem. Ella also reveals that only silence can save you from Mary Shaw. Then she blows out the candle, ending the movie.
  • The Billy puppet, from the Saw franchise, makes a brief cameo; it can be seen sitting on the floor as Jamie starts to walk towards the clown doll.

Post-release commentary[edit]

In his personal blog, screenwriter Whannell reveals the origins of the film within the context of the "Hollywood" film industry. In a candid post entitled, "Dud Silence: The Hellish Experience Of Making A Bad Horror Film", Whannell explains that the film was conceived following the advice of his agent at the time and that a "script doctor" was eventually employed by the production studio. Whannell concludes the post with a description of the key lessons that were learned following the Dead Silence experience:

After everything is said and done, I’m almost glad ‘Dead Silence’ happened, because it gave me an extreme, coal-face lesson in what not to do. It was like learning to swim by leaping off Niagara Falls. I only write scripts on spec now, which means that I write them in my own time without getting paid and then take them out into the world to see if anyone’s interested. Never again will I enter the arranged marriage of selling a pitch. I have also become very gun-shy about working with studios. In the world of independent film, what you write ends up on screen. Plus, they don’t have the money to bring in script doctors! Works fine for me. Who knows, maybe one day I will work with a studio again...[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dead Silence at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ Dead Silence at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ Chris Eggertsen (23 December 2009). "The Top 10 Killer Toy Movies for the Holidays!". Bloody Disgusting. BLOODY DISGUSTING LLC. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  4. ^ IMDb (1990–2012). "Release dates for Dead Silence (2007)". IMDb. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Box Office Mojo. "Dead Silence". Box Office Mojo. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Dead Silence (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ The Numbers (1997–2012). "Dead Silence – DVD Sales". The Numbers. Nash Information Services, LLC. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Dead Silence Blu-ray UK". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "Dead Silence Unrated Blu-ray". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  10. ^ Leigh Whannell (31 August 2011). "Dud Silence: The Hellish Experience Of Making A Bad Horror Film". Word In The Stone. Leigh Whannell. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 

External links[edit]