4) Dead Silence (2007)
After the international success of Insidious and The Conjuring, James Wan has finally entered the Horror Hall of Fame, but things didn’t always look so promising for the up and coming director. Saw became a surprise smash at the Sundance Film festival, prompting studio representatives to coerce Wan and fellow screenwriter Leigh Whannell into quickly producing a follow up movie to capitalize on their success. Unfortunately, both men have since looked back on the making of Dead Silence as a hellish time that made them wary of ever working with studios again.
While this may not sound like a convincing argument to produce a sequel for Dead Silence, Wan’s second feature release did have a lot of potential with some genuine scares. The creepy premise revolved around the legend of Mary Shaw, a ventriloquist who removed the tongue of anyone who screamed in her presence. Ryan Kwanten did an adequate job in the lead role of Jamie, but the real star was Billy, a creepy-ass puppet who puts Annabelle to shame.
Now that Wan and Whannell have built the foundations for the Insidious and Conjuring franchises, it’s time they looked back at their most promising, but under-developed work and produce a sequel that corrects their previous mistakes. Due to the ending, recasting would be required and while this would usually be a bad thing, including new characters could actually work in favor of Dead Silence 2, reinvigorating the franchise with stronger acting talent. Wan and Whannell need to make the creepy doll movie that Annabelle should have been and show all of the pretenders how it’s done.