With few exceptions, we already have more than assumed that the horror genre is in the doldrums. So much so that, despite being a follower of this style of film, I approach the cinema with low expectations when it comes to a scary film. And the fact of going with low expectations can only make me like it more, believe me, there is nothing worse than being disappointed when you expect a lot of something. Therefore, ‘Silence from evil’ (‘Dead Silence‘), of the writers, directors and producers of ‘Saw’, has not been a disappointment for me at all. I could say that it more or less responds to what I expected from the film. It is a product that has something salvageable and that It is not an absolute disaster, but it cannot be considered a good or even correct film by any means.

A young married couple receives an anonymous package at their home containing a ventriloquist’s dummy. The woman is amused and she hides it under a sheet so that she will scare her husband when he returns from buying prepared food. But she is scared because it is she who is found under that sheet, dead and with her tongue torn out. In the town where both spouses had grown up, a little song was repeated: “Be careful that Mary Shaw doesn’t look at you. She had no children, only dolls. If you see her, don’t yell or she’ll rip your tongue out.” Suspected in the murder of his wife, Jamie returns to his hometown to investigate. His father, with whom he did not speak, has suffered a stroke and now has a new wife. He can’t help much, so Jamie asks the undertaker and his wife. I finish writing this synopsis there, but I really don’t know where to stop because the biggest problem with the movie is that almost all of it is an approach, almost all of it would have to be told in a synopsis. After Jamie’s wife dies, he devotes himself to investigating and most of the footage goes to its creators to explain. Where there should be horror scenes, we only have boring dialogues, memories and various narratives that contribute very little and scare even less. If talking a lot were the price to pay for enjoying an intelligent script, go ahead and talk. But the worst thing is that they talk and talk only to accumulate one absurdity after another.

It is not that it is visually more subtle than ‘Saw’, as its director has justified, but that there are hardly any scenes that can be said to correspond to a horror movie. For example, the second murder occurs at movie time. All the investigation of the protagonist would fit better in a mystery film or a thriller, genres that I love, but that cannot be merged with that of ‘Dead Silence’. In an investigation we need to know how everything fits, motivated by curiosity and by wanting to also act as researchers and see if we have been right with our suspicions. In a supernatural film, nothing is going to fit anywhere because the intervention of ghosts is unpredictable, it does not respond to logic. Since anything can happen, there won’t be that kind of curiosity, that desire to know if we’ve got it right. The incentives of horror movies have to be other.

On the other hand, subtle, nothing, because the few times in which deaths occur, the gruesome image no spared at all. And it’s not that I want to cut corners, I’m just saying that in response to James Wan’s absurd excuse. I think that precisely ‘Silence from evil’ is guilty of being a film that has not dared to go further and for this reason has been very little impressive, very little effective. It has stayed in the most superficial and conventional of the curse and the evil of the dolls. Since it’s not more intellectual in other ways, it would have been better if it had more wicked elements like ‘Saw’ does.

The actors are another problem. The protagonist, the young Australian Ryan Kwanten, spends the film looking stupid and that doesn’t help to empathize with him. His accompanying investigator, Donnie Wahlberg—Mark’s brother—sounds like a cop joke. The others do not have relevant roles, but neither do they stand out from their counted lines to deserve personalized mentions.

There is a very curious detail which is that when the devilish doll proceeds to do one of its own, the soundtrack and sound effects are no longer heard. I say curious because the characters can hear the music that does not belong to the scene, as if it were a joke from ‘George of the Jungle’. This is shown in the protagonist’s reactions and in that at one point he even says: “this is how it starts”.

He ending is so far fetched that can produce laughter, as it seemed laughable to me that a doll so similar to that of ‘Saw’ came out and that the bad one was called Shaw, but everything can be coincidences. Nevertheless, It is not one of those movies so bad that you constantly laugh, but it is extremely bland. Perhaps because it is shot normally and because it seems that it had a moderately decent budget. But, to tell you the truth, I don’t know what I would prefer, it would almost be better if it had been more sausage and more fun.

Definitely: a boring movie with hardly any scary moments and a slightly ridiculous ending. It lacks the gruesomeness and morbidity of ‘Saw’ and in return it does not provide a more intelligent script or any other advantage.

*Explanation of the headline of the review: “dummies” are dolls, some of you will remember the Crash Test Dummies group, that is, dolls to test cars in accidents. But also, the word means “clumsy” or “short”, hence all those manuals such as ‘Public Relations for clumsy’, which in English is called “Public Relations for Dummies”.

Trailer for ‘Dead Silence’, one of devilish dolls.