Silent But Deadly (2011)
No, this movie isn’t about what you think it’s about. In a nutshell this movie is about the consequences you must face if you fuck around with a man’s goat (don’t worry, I’ll explain this more below). SILENT BUT DEADLY may have been made in 2011 but it’s finally getting a well-deserved release here in 2013. SILENT BUT DEADLY is another entry in the horror-comedy category but it’s one that actually works. This is one of those films that has some clever writing, good characters, solid dialogue, and one where the comedy is placed in all the right places. Unfortunately SILENT BUT DEADLY has one huge flaw. Can you guess what that is?
At the end of the day SILENT BUT DEADLY is about a man’s love for his goat and how far said man will go to avenge his goat’s death. Thomas (Jason Mewes, “Jay” from the CLERKS films) plays the silent role here as a guy who’s only real connection in the world is to his goat. But this isn’t a film about animal rights and the love for a pet. Thomas’ nickname given to him by his step moms is “Goat Fucker.” Yeah; we’re talking about that kind of love. There’s even a baby goat that we’re led to believe that Thomas fathered. As the film opens we find a rather peaceful yet voyeuristic Thomas spying on his two mail-order Russian bride step moms as they get it on. They see him which pisses them off so they yell down to their hubby (Thomas’ dad) to make Thomas stop. The father, Capper (the always great William Sadler) goes on a tear and hunts down his rather odd son. Capper definitely overreacts to the situation but you can see his frustration that he has two beautiful Russian wives who sexually want nothing to do with him. Sadler lets loose with strings of obscenities both towards his son and his lesbian wives (at one point he calls them “muff-munching Moscow muff-divers”). When Thomas runs into the nearby corn field, Capper grabs the baby goat knowing how much Thomas loves it. He threatens to kill it if Thomas doesn’t come out. When Thomas stays in the corn field, Capper makes good on his promise blowing the baby goat’s head off. Thomas flips and kills his dad and then his two Russian step moms.
It’s very clear right from the opening scene that SILENT BUT DEADLY is not meant to be taken seriously. At all. The entire movie is played for laughs and the writers here get plenty of them. After killing his dad and step moms, Thomas goes on the lam with his girlfriend, er … goat, and eventually finds himself on the set of a Hollywood movie being filmed in his small town. Bobby (Marc Hickox), who’s filming the behind-the-scenes documentary for the DVD, gets Thomas a job on the set as the assistant to the director Victor (Patrick McKenna), a bi-polar mess who is always screaming at the cast and crew for no good reason. But Thomas doesn’t realize that his triple murder on the farm has attracted the attention of the local law enforcement, Sheriff Shelby (Jordan Prentice) and Deputy Jimbo (Benz Antoine). These two have some of the best dialogue and back-and-forths in the film. Sheriff Shelby is a midget — the most racist, violent midget you’ll come across, and Jimbo is his black deputy who Shelby treats like an idiot but who clearly has better law enforcement skills than the sheriff. With them is Sandra (Kim Poirier), who’s filming a documentary on how small towns have been affected in the post-Katrina world. She quickly changes the focus of her documentary when the sheriff invites her along to investigate the murders. These three eventually end up at the location of the movie being shot looking for Thomas. Sandra and Jimbo believe it’s pretty obvious Thomas is the murderer but Sheriff Shelby won’t draw any conclusions until the black light he ordered comes in and he’s able to check the crime scene for semen, or “cock barf,” as he calls it. As the movie progresses, Shelby seems to get more and more obsessed with that damn black light!!
Everything seems to be going well for Thomas on the set. He’s doing his job well and isn’t pissing off the director. But if Thomas wasn’t surrounded by self-absorbed, self-centered Hollywood folk, someone would’ve probably noticed that Thomas is a bit odd. To begin with he says nothing. The title of the film, SILENT BUT DEADLY, doesn’t refer to those little seat squeakers that escape during inopportune moments. SILENT BUT DEADLY is referring to Thomas and how he doesn’t say a word until he’s about to kill someone. The only words Mewes’ character speaks the entire film are when he utters the name of the instrument he’s about to kill someone with: ”Pitchfork,” “Axe,” ”Delicatessen Meat Slicer.” You get the point. Thomas was even starting to make some friends on the movie set until the caterer at the Kraft Services Table, Winston (Jai Jai Jones) who in the film is from Trinidad, finds the unattended goat, kills it, and cooks it for lunch. When Thomas wakes up he finds his beloved goat’s head in the kitchen tent, finds the entire crew eating goat stew, and promptly goes on a killing spree to rival Jason Voorhees!!
I really enjoyed this film and had a real fun time with it. All the performances were spot on and the comedy wasn’t forced into the plot. The comedic elements were organic to the story. This is definitely more of a comedy than a horror film, but it completely works as a horror-comedy. The standout performances were Sheriff Shelby (Prentice) and Bobby (Hickox). These two have natural comedic timing that really made their performances top notch. Prentice is such a racist/bigot that you can’t help but laugh. Of course the fact that he’s a midget doesn’t hurt! And Bobby serves as both the film’s straight man and comedic deliverer as well. Mewes also does a fantastic job in his role. Considering he only has a handful of words to say, he gets across a lot of emotion (and anger, as it is) in his character.
I guess I’ve been avoiding this film’s largest flaw: The CGI effects. Writers David Pluscauskas, Lori Kelly, Joel Plue, and Erin Berry really give us some creative, gory kills but the problem is these kills were executed with some of the worse CGI effects I’ve seen in a long time. I think my eight year old using our Macbook Pro could’ve come up with more believable CGI f/x!! It’s a shame because the kills really are creative but they look so shitty that it pulls you right out of the movie.
SILENT BUT DEADLY isn’t by any means a perfect film, but its a damn fun and entertaining one. We get great performances by the cast, the pacing is perfect, and the dialogue is quick and funny. I mean seriously, how could you not like hearing Victor argue that “The Monkees are like The Beattles, but better because their drummer sings,” or listen to Shelby talk about how he was trained in the deadly art of “Karate hands” by a “Shaolin monk in Arkansas”!! And whereas I can respect that the writers were trying to give the audience some creative, gory kills, I would’ve rather seen less elaborate kills done without having to use CGI. Man the CGI really sucked!! But at the end of the day I’m recommending SILENT BUT DEADLY as a fun, entertaining horror-comedy that injects a little new blood into the tired old slasher sub-genre.
Director: Stephen Scott
Plot: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 2 out of 10 skulls (there were some potentially gory scenes ruined by shitty CGI)
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer