Terrified of puppets? Enjoy being scared? Then you'll be half-satisfied with Dead Silence, a rote horror pantomime.
Scott Brown - Entertainment Weekly
The film's playfully self-aware touches (like a grand old theater named the Guignol) distract from its leaden pacing, three too many final twists and various behavioral idiocies.
Matt Zoller Seitz - New York Times
A reasonable shocker.
Peter Bradshaw - Guardian [UK]
This new movie is a more credible, less grisly act of filmmaking , but it's a less compelling exercise. It doesn't have the ruthless moral reasoning of the first two Saw pictures, however grotesque and specious that reasoning was.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
Dolls are innately unnerving, but the movie's semi-menacing Charlie McCarthys never live up to their potential.
Jim Ridley - Village Voice
Wan and Whannell have a carnivalesque sense of fun and a sure instinct for recycling classic horror tropes, but their characters are so flat and their plotting so listless that this low-budget feature fails to generate much suspense.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
A gothic chiller in which morbid atmospherics and simmering suspense build to an ingenious third-act climax.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Formulaic and rather lazy exercise in booga-booga scare tactics.
John Anderson - Variety
Saw creators Leigh Whannell and James Wan know scary: all that stuff that heebie-jeebied you when you were a kid. (Or as Entertainment Weekly would say: Dead Silence is awash with atavistic horror tropes.)
Kyle Smith - New York Post
The movie's uninteresting characters, boneheaded dialogue and flagrantly nonsensical narrative detract considerably from the virtues of the visual design.
Jason Anderson - Globe and Mail
Director Wan demonstrates that he's equally effective working in a more classical vein, especially with his skillful use of chilling low-key sound effects and silence in several scary sequences.
Frank Scheck - Hollywood Reporter
The movies have always asked us to suspend our disbelief, but Dead Silence demands our ignorance of its own derivations. A conflation of the horror genre's laziest tropes, plot angles and shorthands.
Ed Gonzalez - Los Angeles Times
A Nightmare on Dummy St. from Saw creators.
Charles Cassady - Common Sense Media
All dolls are inherently freaky, but there's something seriously bent about a little wooden man with bulging eyes, shiny cheeks, and perfect chompers.
Steve Newton - Georgia Straight
Plodding and bereft of suspense, "Dead Silence" is an irredeemable jumble of cliche genre fragments.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Tom Meek - Boston Phoenix
Brian Marder - Hollywood.com
"Dead Silence" is not going to reinvent the genre. It's actually a big pile of nonsense, but that doesn't stop it from being fun nonetheless.
Brian Holcomb - Beyond Hollywood
It's awful. It eats your soul, it's so awful.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
All Wan and Whannell know is shock-and-awe tactics. They may shock, but there's no awe.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
For the love of Chucky, avoid this insipid attempt at reviving the killer doll horror.
Adam Smith - Empire Magazine
...an ambitious misfire.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
There's something quaintly charming about the filmmakers' unabashed affection for their inspirational source material, although the sense of over-familiarity means that none of it is in the least bit scary.
Mark Kermode - Observer [UK]
Poorly written, badly directed and ultimately scare-free horror flick that's further hindered by dismal performances and unintentionally laughable dialogue.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
It's affectionately done, but rather pointless.
Nigel Floyd - Time Out
It's also a bit shocking that a movie this mediocre is getting a cinema release at all. Dead Silence more resembles one of those five-quid DVDs you find in petrol stations.
Dean Essner - Daily Mirror [UK]
"Who's the dummy now?" she rasps. Well, you are if you waste your hard-earned on this tepid retread of Dickie Attenborough's 1978 Magic, a curious stumble from Leigh Whannell and James Wan after the success of their Saw gore-fests.
Dean Essner - Total Film
This is Days Of Our Lives for the living dead - possibly the only film in history to prompt the reaction, 'That would have been worse, if not for Donnie Wahlberg's acting talent!' and far more predictable than you'd expect from the director of Saw.
Dean Essner - Daily Mail [UK]
Dead Silence is redeemed by a so-bad-it-is-good factor.
Dean Essner - Sun Online
The muddled plot and stilted dialogue irritate to the point where you're tempted to side with the villain.
Anna Smith - BBC
The sensual pleasure in watching this kind of horror movie depends entirely on your tolerance for ear-splitting jolts of shock. In the end, though, the film sags like a David Lynch pudding.
James Christopher - Times [UK]
there's something about its overblown stormy-night atmospherics and reliably dismal dialogue that's bad in almost a fun way. I'd rather laugh through this kind of harmless, rickety schlock, any day, than grimace through Saw III.
Tim Robey - Daily Telegraph
I admit that I didn't see the daft last-minute twist coming, and sort of admired it, but for the rest you'd need an extravagant love of hokum not to feel mildly bored.
Anthony Quinn - Independent
It's hard to imagine anybody's spine being chilled by a relentlessly average spooker as empty-headed as its wooden villain.
Neil Smith - Film4
It's woefully flat and not nearly as scary as it thinks it is. It almost makes one yearn for Saw. But not quite.
Derek Malcolm - This is London
Though it contains few chilling images, mainly involving creepy ventriloquist dummies and scary faces advancing toward the camera, the story is fairly routine.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
It's great seeing Wahlberg getting the chance to have fun with the character, who proves to be a highlight of the film, and one almost wishes he might get his own spin-off film or series at some point -- though judging by the events of Dead Silence, that
Scott Collura - IGN Movies
A film of such pointlessness, a film with neither thrill nor chill, an exercise of such tedium that it delivers nary a scare and sends no pulses a-racing.
Dan Jardine - Apollo Guide
A good idea, but one that's poorly executed in most aspects
Garth Franklin - Dark Horizons
I expected more from the guys who "Saw" their way into a cult horror franchise.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Somehow operates under the assumption that a dumb nursery rhyme, a colorless visual palette punctuated by deep reds, and some creaky dolls will frighten anyone over the age of five.
Nick Schager - Lessons of Darkness
A nutty but effective ghost story that eschews the 'Saw' team's usual ultraviolence for 'classic horror' influences, including images inspired by Mario Bava and a twist lifted from a short story by Robert 'Psycho' Bloch.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Even without the mechanized death that made the Saw movies such a sensation, it doesn't take long to realize that director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell are merely trying to replace one twisty, gimmicky franchise with another.
Scott Tobias - AV Club
A kicky exercise in spook-show atmospherics that manages to hit all the right notes while never quite coalescing into the Dario Argento-esque aria of creepiness it so clearly aspires to.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
Warming your hands over a burning ten-dollar bill is preferable to watching this film.
Matt McKillop - Filmcritic.com
'Beware the film of Mary Shaw's; it had no scares, only flaws.'
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
Wan certainly doesn't capitalize on his Saw fame.
Bob Grimm - Reno News and Review
Dean Essner - Bullz-Eye.com
Formulas are great for chemistry, but relying on them in movies only leads to tedium -- in this case, tedium interspersed with occasional bouts of gore.
Pam Grady - Reel.com
All of this is then capped off by an ending so hilarious, so inane, that it could only have come from the idiots that made Saw.
David Cornelius - eFilmCritic.com
A straightforward, chilly ghost story like this is rare, and this one is good enough for a few scares and a few laughs.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
A profoundly silly movie that makes very little sense and features all of the genre cliches that the original Saw tried hard to avoid.
Ethan Alter - Film Journal International
It's at least a few corpses shy of the cemetery in terms of horror classics, but it's a game try, and parts of the film are very good indeed.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
[Director] Wan isn't on sure footing with his actors -- Wahlberg is stilted as the tough-guy cop, and Kwanten is blandly uninteresting. Even at a brisk 90 minutes, the story still feels painfully attenuated.
Ken Fox - TV Guide's Movie Guide
Dead Silence is boring as often as it is insane. For a movie about a dead old woman who doesn't care that it's rude to stare at people, and relives her bad habit through a ventriloquist dummy that looks like Andy Garcia, that's unacceptable.
Mark Palermo - Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Watching it, the amateur, institutionalized filmmaker might think, "Well, there it is--the movie to which I aspire." For the rest of us, however, things are predictably bleak.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Armed with a decent budget, director James Wan and co-screenwriter Leigh Wannell fashion at least a dozen sequences that are spooky even while they defy logic.
John Monaghan - Detroit Free Press
There's no attempt at humor in Dead Silence, but the biggest sin in the film is the lack of scares.
Peter Hartlaub - San Francisco Chronicle
The film has plenty of unsettling atmosphere, tension and general graveyard oogie-boogie, but you can't care about the characters or their incomprehensible predicament, so those chills and thrills never go all the way to gripping. They stop at griping.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
While one might wish to commend Wan and company for making a horror pic that's less reliant on gore and gross sadism than the ones that they're normally associated are, what they're serving up as an alternative really lacks.
Glenn Kenny - Premiere Magazine
Not even the most timid moviegoer will feel in jeopardy while watching 'Dead Silence," a mild slasher flick short on gore and scares.
John P. McCarthy - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Goes to show how dumb some people in the movie industry think the general public is.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Wan lays it on thick, for sure, but without feeling and (even worse) without reason.
Rob Humanick - Slant Magazine
Dead Silence [isn't perfect but] it is still a decent, if somewhat wooden, entry in the underutilized area of ventriloquist dolls in the horror movie genre.
Staci Layne Wilson - About.com
Dead Silence is another shallow and shoddy spooky showcase that fills up on its atmospheric thrills more so than dispensing the roguish chills.
Frank Ochieng - Movie Eye
Ultimately undone by not only amateurish acting but also DOA dialogue.
Chad Greene - Boxoffice Magazine
Dean Essner - Baltimore Sun
For those who like the little hairs to stand at fright attention on the back of the neck while gulping popcorn down the front, though, there's a new three-foot-tall creep in town.
Larry Ratliff - San Antonio Express-News
A perfunctory, cynical movie, made by people who must know how unfrightening their film is and how idiotic its 'surprise' ending is.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
It's a sad state of affairs when you're more interested in the horror movie trailers that play before the feature film.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Dave White - Movies.com
Hidden from critics for a reason.
Dustin Putman - DustinPutman.com
The spirit of Edward D. Wood Jr. is alive and well, and currently taking up residence in the movies of James Wan and Leigh Whannell.
Brian Orndorf - OhmyNews.com
Fans coming from the Saw franchise are going to be bored to death by Dead Silence.
Brian Tallerico - UGO
This Silence is definitely D.O.A.,...a genre movie that's well-produced, but extremely silly and not at all scary.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
If you're in the mood for a Saturday afternoon-ish throwback thriller, you could certainly do a hell of a lot worse than this one.
Scott Weinberg - Cinematical