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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some very mild innuendo between young marrieds.
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"Hell," "ass," and the very beginning of an F-word.
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Products & Purchases
None, except a quick inside-joke reference to the Saw movies.
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.