Dead Silence is a solid horror movie that is reminiscent of the old Hammer Horror movies from the black and white era. A solid setup and cast combined with plenty of jumpy moments and a great villain, Dead Silence is the real reason that people should be afraid of ventriloquist dolls. There's a legend in the town of Raven's Fair about Mary Shaw. A ventriloquist who lost her mind, she was accused of killing a child. The townspeople cut out her tongue and killed her, a fitting, if gruesome, punishment for someone that they were sure had killed one of their own. She was buried with her collection of hand carved vaudeville dolls, but they vanished from her grave. Whenever someone sees one, they're found soon after, dead with their tongue cut out. The legend goes that if you see Mary Shaw, don't scream, or you'll never speak again.
When Jamie's wife Lisa is murdered, her tongue cut out, he's forced to return to Raven's Fair for the funeral. After he sees his father, and his much younger wife, Jamie begins digging into the legends of the town to try and find out why his wife was killed. And whether or not Mary Shaw is more than just a legend.
Dead Silence plays on so many different fears. The fear of dolls, particularly talking ones, ghosts, darkness, old myths, murder and the gruesome fixation on the tongue and on mutilation. Yet the film does all that without taking a nose dive into gore, something that the torture-porn generation of films like the Hostel series never managed to do. The fear that a murdering ghost conjures, and the lack of rules that they have to abide by, leaves the audience certain that at any moment Mary Shaw is going to come and exact her bloody vengeance. And eventually, she does.
This film has merits that appeal to any lover of horror, and anyone that wants a good scare on Saturday night. Popcorn is the perfect addition to Dead Silence, and if you happen to have dolls in the room you might be giving them the side eye for a while after watching. Though the re-watch value isn't much (a side effect of twist endings is once you know the twist there's not much left to watch), Dead Silence is a good movie to have to watch with people who don't know.