Friday, July 15, 2011

Dead Silence -- It Doesn't Suck!

The problem with a lot of American horror films these days is this: a lot of gore, a lot of effects, but not so much emphasis on character, ambiance, or atmosphere. In this regard, I was pleasantly surprised by Dead Silence. To be honest, I only bought this film because it was in the two-dollar bin at Big Lots.

The Good:

The monster is genuinely creepy looking. It's a thin old woman puppeteer, and according to the DVD extras, she's a Broadway veteran. In short: a seasoned actor who knows how to act through facial expression, and she does it rather well.

The movie is thick on atmosphere. Sure, a lot of it is horror cliche that is old and well used: mist, woods, puppets, dark set lighting, lightning, etc. However, even well-worn imagery can be effective in the hands of a talented film maker.

Mark Wahlberg is playing out of stereotype. Wahlberg strikes me, sometimes, as the white Ice Cube -- not in hip hop and rhyming (Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch still make me want to ram an icepick through my ear), but in that Wahlberg seems at home scowling and looking mean. True, that was definately not the case in The Lovely Bones, but that's also a Peter Jackson film and an exception.

The landscape looks a lot like West Virginia, and I have a soft spot for mountains and woodlands.

The ending may be contrived for "shock," but it's one that's decently executed.

The Annoying:

Mark Wahlberg is playing out of stereotype. His character seems annoying, to an extent. It don't mind that he's softer spoken, but there's something about the character, the way its written, that's just milquetoast.

The plot is a little convoluted at points. But, then again, this is a movie about an old woman that will rip your tongue out, if you scream.

The Bottom Line.

Enjoyable. Not the greatest horror movie written, but certainly not the worst. There's enough here to keep a viewer engaged without descending into levels of MEH!

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