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In Theaters: Dead Silence and Behind the Mask

Dead_silenceTwo new horror entries hit theaters this week, one that’s here to make you laugh and scream while the other wants you to be dead silent.  Yes, we spent a long time thinking that one up.

Dead Silence has a lot going for it: It’s the new film from Saw director James Wan and was co-written by Saw writer James Whannel.  And it’s about possessed ventriloquist dummies that kill people – nothing scarier than that, folks!  The fact that this shot about two years ago (co-star Donnie Wahlberg shot his role in Saw II after he shot this) and that the material is the kind of thing that was being done on The Twilight Zone almost 50 years ago doesn’t really get one’s hopes up.  But Saw proved that these guys can pull the rug out from under the audience and really freak the folks out, so you’ve got to give them the benefit of the doubt.  We’ll know for sure on Friday.

Also opening (in limited release) is Behind The Mask: The Rise Of Leslie Vernon, a low-budget indie that’s been playing the festival circuit for the last year and getting a great reaction everywhere it plays.  Sort of a Spinal Tap for slasher fans, Behind The Mask shows a documentary film crew following up-and-coming serial killer Leslie Vernon (played by Nathan Bessel in a star-making performance) as he prepares for his next big slaughter.  Many of the genre’s cliches are lovingly mocked and for much of its running time it’s a winning spoof that horror fans will love.  Our problem is that once the killing starts the film stops being funny and starts to play it straight and it doesn’t work.  However, that doesn’t take away from the film’s charms (like a hilarious performance from Scott Wilson as Vernon’s mentor) and it’s about time slasher movies got this much-needed ribbing.  Check it out!

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