Unsung Horror Movies for Halloween: Dead Silence & Wolf Creek
This week we look at two films from directors that come from Australia. The first is James Wan’s 2007 release Dead Silence. Fresh off the success of Saw, Wan directored this horror film that may have gotten some attention upon release but has largely been forgotten since then. Wan teamed up with friend and partner Leigh Whannell to write the story and get their newest horror flick going.
The movie revolves around the story of Mary Shaw, a ventriloquist that wanted to create the perfect puppet. During a performance, a young child heckled Mary and went missing shortly thereafter. Mary was blamed for the child’s disappearance and murdered. She would return though and cut the tongues from her victims, basically turning them into puppets. But, Mary Shaw could only kill those who screamed at the sight of her.
The film stars Ryan Kwanten (HBO’s True Blood), Donnie Wahlberg (Saw II), Amber Valletta (Hitch), and Judith Roberts (Death Sentence) as the villain Mary Shaw. Director James Wan made this film after the release of the highly successful Saw, but Dead Silence did not grab the people’s attention like his previous film. But that should not held against this movie. Dead Silence was a creepy film with many good scares and a good ending. After this film, Wan has been involved with films such as Death Sentence, Insidious, Insidious: Chapter 2, and The Conjuring. More recently, Wan has decided to move away from the horror genre for now and will direct the upcoming Fast & Furious 7.
Wolf Creek is a 2005 film directed by Greg McLean. This movie came out during the run of torture movies like Hostel and Saw and fits in with those films well. In the movie, three backpackers who are going through the Australian outback when they are captured and tortured by a serial killer that goes by the name of Mick Taylor.
The film was marketed as being “based on a true story” as it is roughly based on the abduction and murder of a tourist in 2001 and the Backpacker Murders of the 1990’s. Many are misled as to think that the entire movie is true when it is only the basic idea that is created from truth. But despite how much or little is based in reality, the movie was actually banned in the Northern Territory of Australia while the trial was ongoing for the 2001 murder mentioned above.
The movie starred Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, and Nathan Phillips as the unfortunate backpackers and John Jarratt as the murderous Mick Taylor. McLean has went on to direct the horror films Rogue and Red Hill. He is also rumored to be working on a sequel for Wolf Creek but there is nothing definite as of now.