Dead Silence

Movie review by
Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media
Dead Silence Movie Poster Image
A Nightmare on Dummy St. from Saw creators.
  • R
  • 2007
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 36 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

None of the characters are terribly well developed, but the main character is evidently a good husband trying to get justice for his slain wife. His good intentions don't prevent a downbeat fate. His aged, invalid father has married repeatedly, lately settling (apparently) for much younger bride.

Violence

Victims of the ghost have their tongues torn out -- though the gory deed happens in "supernatural" bursts of speed, so (usually) the worst we see are quick glimpses of the ghastly corpses that result. One victim vomits up blood. Others fall from great heights through floorboards. There is a quick-cut of a lynch mob about to kill and mutilate a woman with a razor. Dead bodies include children.

Sex

Some very mild innuendo between young marrieds.

Language

"Hell," "ass," and the very beginning of an F-word.

Consumerism

None, except a quick inside-joke reference to the Saw movies.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this horror movie shows grotesque image of corpses with mouths open and tongues torn out. The violence is shown in quick, nightmarish flashes (it's a ghostly curse doing it, after all, not human handiwork), and is very intense. A young boy is prominent among victims. Other imagery plays on people's worst fears of creepy ventriloquist dummies, dolls, mannequins, marionettes, and clowns -- this could definitely give smaller kids and other sensitive viewers nightmares.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13 year old Written bytwzzlrgirl July 19, 2009

Great Movie

I really enjoyed this movie, as did my teenage daughter. No swearing, nudity, or sex. The movie is violent, but most of the violence is done by "supernatur... Continue reading
Adult Written bynique53 April 9, 2008
Teen, 15 years old Written byyourboi01 April 9, 2008
Kid, 12 years old May 20, 2011

Iffy For Preteens and Scary!

I thought this movie was pretty scary. There is no sex. Not that much violence except for people shown with tongues ripped out and a puddle of blood. Iffy for p... Continue reading

What's the story?

A young wife is murdered, with her tongue torn out. Police detective Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg) immediately suspects the husband, Jamie (Ryan Kwanten), of the crime, mocking the young man's story that back in the town of Raven's Fair, where the couple grew up, there was a legend of a twisted lady ventriloquist named Mary Shaw. Her ghost supposedly pulls your tongue out if you scream when you see her in a nightmare. And Jamie and his wife had just received a mysterious package from Raven's Fair containing an antique dummy. To prove his innocence and bury his late spouse, Jamie goes back to Raven's Fair. Jamie tries to break the curse by burying the dummy in the cemetery with Mary Shaw, but it's not that simple.

Is it any good?

The filmmakers behind the grisly hit Saw and its sequels also made DEAD SILENCE; even with intense scenes of hideous corpses, the violence isn't as nasty as Saw's sadistic torture. Expect gruesome makeup effects and digital hauntings in an otherwise old-school chiller, complete with smoke-machine fog and cobwebs that look like they came straight from a magic shop. Even the Universal Pictures logo at the beginning of this is the black-and-white antique one, not the modern version.

If your teens are already watching and loving horror movies, Dead Silence is probably OK for them. The big question is whether horror-hardened youth will forgive a fairly predictable "trick" ending. Not to mention a ghost who's an obvious takeoff on the more interesting dream-haunting demon Freddy Krueger. Some of the scary stuff is just fleeting glimpses of Mary's ghost, reflected in a mirror or in deep shadow. Dead Silence actually gets less frightening when the filmmakers apply the fancy CGI special-effects or reveal Mary Shaw in full. It's far more ominous just to show the dummy's staring eyes or grinning face suddenly turned in a different position than the last shot.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's retro horror style with the use of dry-ice fog, nearly black-and-white cinematography, the exaggerated cop character -- even the absence of swearing and sex in the film. Ask your kids why they think the filmmakers decided to hearken back to this more innocent era? How does the movie compare to old Universal Pictures horror movies with Frankenstein's monster, the Wolf Man, Dracula, and others? Why are people creeped out (or not) by dummies and dolls?

Movie details

For kids who love scares

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