dead silence 1

(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or TV show, or sets their sights on something seemingly beloved by all. In this edition: Dead Silence is the first true James Wan movie and an unfairly maligned gem.)

It’s impossible to ignore James Wan’s impact on the horror genre over the last decade and change. Saw put both Wan and “torture porn” on the map, Insidious revamped haunted house architectures, The Conjuring scared up record-breaking box office numbers – and that’s to start. Tack on successful sequels (Insidious: Chapter 2 and The Conjuring 2), a respectful entry in the Fast and Furious saga (sending off Paul Walker), and him being handed the reins to a DC property in Aquaman. Wan is, undeniably, a Hollywood juggernaut who went from indie darling to household name by riding a wave of deserved praise for doing the impossible. Igniting franchises. Building cinematic universes. Redefining our nightmares. He is so very…wanderful Pulitzer, please.

Alas, some of his movies have been forgotten along the way. Travel back in time with me, won’t you? Let’s jump back a decade. Back to when James Wan was still trying to emerge from under the shadow of Saw. Back to when he made one of his best movies. Back when no one gave the terrific Dead Silence the time of day.

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DVD Review: Dead Silence

Dead SilenceOh wow, ventriloquists are creepy. I’m afraid of everything, so my review of the Dead Silence unrated DVD may be a little different than those brave souls out there. Let me just start by mentioning that the PR team for this film sent me an e-card last week, which made me laugh out loud… and then have nightmares for a week. It was a card with a talking doll telling me she was happy that I would be reviewing the film for slashfilm.com. If that didn’t freak me out enough, I then had to watch the film.

In Dead Silence, Jamie Ashen (Ryan Kwanten) is a guy trying to prove his innocence after he is accused of killing his wife right after a creepy puppet ends up outside of their door. Detective Jim Lipton (Donnie Wahlberg) accuses Jamie of the murder, so he returns to his hometown to try to prove that a creepy ventriloquist named Mary Shaw is behind the killing.

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