Directed by Stephen Scott
If you’re going to attempt to conquer the tricky genre of horror-comedy, it’s always a good idea to get someone in the cast who has a comedic background. And that’s exactly what the makers of Silent But Deadly did. They went out and cast Jason Mewes in the lead role of their film. Good idea. Mewes has been in the business of making people laugh for nearly 20 years. Then they gave him a role that had practically no dialogue. Bad idea.
In Silent But Deadly, Mewes plays Thomas Capper, the son of a farmer who finds himself avenging the loss of his best friend. That friend was a goat (and may actually have been more than a friend, but we can’t confirm that one way or another). Unfortunately the character is almost a mute, having just a handful of one-word lines throughout the movie. To Mewes’ credit, he does what he can to express himself in other ways, but it seems like a very poor decision to take an actor with the comedic verbal talents of Mewes and give him a basically non-speaking role. Fortunately, Silent But Deadly does make up for this oversight by providing some real laughs from other characters in the movie.
In a stroke of top notch casting, William Sadler was brought in to play Thomas’ lazy, thoughtless father, Capper. (And Sadler really looks like he could be Mewes’ father). To explain to you how unlucky in life Capper is take this into consideration. He saved up all his farming money and bought not one, but two beautiful, horny Russian mail-order brides. However, they turn out to be lesbians and not looking to make it a threesome. Now that’s tough luck. It’s no wonder he’s such a dick to his son, Thomas. Although his role is quite short, Sadler does manage to get off some great lines, like calling his lesbian wives two “Moscow carpet munchin’ magpies!”
Another standout in the cast was Sheriff Shelby, played by little person Jordan Prentice. Prentice basically steals the show as the three-foot tall, racist, sexist sheriff investigating a murder. Prentice kills as the sheriff delivering one offensive line after another and playing the perfect law enforcement buffoon. He’s accompanied by a deputy who is much more intelligent and better suited to handle situations in Deputy Jimbo (Benz Antoine). The pair of them deliver some great laughs throughout the film.
Rounding out the cast are a high strung movie director, a beautiful documentary filmmaker (Poirier) and the guy trying to get into her pants (Hickox, who will remind you more and more of Bill Moseley as the film goes on) and a crazy, blind old man. And that is the strong point of this film, the ensemble. Mewes does what he can in his basically silent role, but the rest of the cast manages to work together to deliver some really great comedy.
But comedy is not the reason we’re discussing this movie. Of course we’re more concerned with the horror side of horror/comedy. Silent But Deadly is simply a slasher film when it comes to the horror of it all. And in a slasher, more important than anything, is having quality F/X. And here, again, Silent But Deadly comes up short. The practical F/X are quite good. Actually damn good. The problem is the digital F/X, they are really, really bad. Thankfully they are not used that often as it could have crushed the entire movie. The fact that the digital F/X are used very sparingly is a big save because what they did show was horrendous. The filmmakers obviously had a talented group of practical F/X artists, so one has to wonder why they would use such incredibly lame digital F/X.
Silent But Deadly is a horror/comedy that will give you some laughs. You’re not going to fall out of your chair cracking up, but the film is amusing. Some unfortunate choices such as not giving your star any lines and the use of terrible digital F/X certainly hampered the film, but overall it did manage to overcome any shortcomings and make an okay movie. And Silent Bob would be proud of Jason for being able to keep his mouth closed for the entire film!
2 1/2 out of 5