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Dead Silence (2007) — review   Leave a comment

Although I’m a horror enthusiast, I’m not very much into horror movies. I prefer novels or drawn art. That’s because horror movies, most of them, depend on those sudden scares that get you jumping, rather than letting your imagination take control. Some movies like Signs and The Village are more about imagination, not graphic depictions or auditory effects. However, it’s still refreshing every once in a while to watch a typical horror movie. I think the last time I watched a horror movie of this kind was way back when I watched The Grudge in the theater. It was pretty good with a nice Japanese flavor.

Dead Silence 2007 BRRip 720p x264 -MgB.mp4_snapshot_00.43.51_[2012.01.29_15.47.20]A couple of days ago, I watched Dead Silence. Why did I choose to watch this one? Well, the idea of dolls having a life of their own has always fascinated me. It all started many years ago when I heard about Chucky in the Child’s Play series of movies. Although I never got to watch a full film from the series in my childhood (I was so scared to complete it even among my family’s company), the picture of a hateful doll killing innocent people has forever been engraved in the walls of my mind. Later, and in a much friendlier way, dolls and toys had lives of their own in the popular movie Toy Story. I wish the release dates were the other way round, because I was really so young to witness dolls killing people with hammers. That wasn’t fair.

Dead Silence 2007 BRRip 720p x264 -MgB.mp4_snapshot_00.44.01_[2012.01.29_15.43.32]Dead Silence main theme is this: dolls taking revenge on people. Or would I say, their owner does? Yes, there’s a dead ventriloquist here and she’s angry, really mad. You’d expect her dolls to be loyal to her, wouldn’t you? And they are. The story is about a hateful soul of a murdered ventriloquist who wants to take revenge on all those who ‘silenced’ her. Reportedly, a young boy who’d attended her last show went missing. That boy was somewhat mean to her during the show, shouting things like “her lips are moving, the doll is not real”. Later, the boy’s family thought of Mary Shaw, the ventriloquist in question, as the only suspect, and consequently the convict. They didn’t waste time in cutting out her tongue and killing her. This would be so crazy in our time where the law is rampant (supposedly), so don’t be surprised if you knew that that happened more than a hundred years ago in rural America. Mary Shaw had 101 hand-crafted dolls which were all buried with her according to her will. In her life, she’d aspired to create the ‘perfect doll’ – as her diary says in the beginning of the film. That perfect doll was revealed to be a creation of utmost skill later on. Something that crosses the line between non-living things and human-like characteristics.

Dead Silence 2007 BRRip 720p x264 -MgB.mp4_snapshot_00.23.57_[2012.01.29_17.49.45]The story is set in Ravens Fair; a small, almost completely deserted town in rural America – the sort of towns that are called ghost towns. On the edge of town there is the old theater where Mary Show used to perform and live. The protagonist, a descendant of the murdering family of Ashen, journeys from the center of town to that theater on many occasions searching for clues for his wife’s murder that happened just minutes after receiving the doll Billy from an unknown sender. Oh, I’ve forgotten the cemetery. There is one too. Now you have a classic old-school horror setting. And it’s not bad; in fact, it works quite well. The music is also well done and suits the screenplay perfectly. So what do I think could be better? Well, Billy. Billy was a very interesting character and he was actually the main antagonist for almost half the movie, but in the latter half, his role diminished considerably, and his demise was pretty disappointing. I think all viewers expected more from Billy. Though the movie is not just about him, he was shown in the beginning to play a big role which got much smaller as the movie went on, and that’s the director (or the writer’s) mistake. The dialogue wasn’t the best you can hear in a horror film either, but it did the job.

Dead Silence 2007 BRRip 720p x264 -MgB.mp4_snapshot_00.43.56_[2012.01.29_18.36.54]The angry soul of Mary Show has been taking the lives of all descendants of the Ashen family for many years. However, a condition must be met before she can kill them; they have to scream. That’s why an old folk poem, popular in town, advises against that. The film’s title is derived from the complete silence of ambient sounds Mary Shaw creates before she attacks. She silences those who silenced her – according to her own words, simply by cutting out their tongues and adding them to her mouth. In the process, the victims’ jaws are also broken apart, creating a facial appearance similar to that of a face of a wooden doll, like Billy. It doesn’t get fairer than this, does it? But Mary Shaw was really evil in her life. Some viewers may think she deserved what happened to her in some way, for the boy she kidnapped was exploited and may had had something to do with her creation of the ‘perfect doll’. You may wonder what role her dolls have in the process of revenge. It seems that they act as ‘helpers’ or ‘mediators’ of some sort to Mary Shaw, and though they do have lives of their own (they can talk and look around), they don’t commit the act itself. For instance, Billy lured the protagonist’s wife to her death by calling for her to the bedroom where Mary Shaw did the job. On the other hand, the protagonist escaped an eminent death once, because he knew the poem and did not scream. His dilemma was doubled because he was under close surveillance from a detective for being the only suspect in his wife’s murder.

Dead Silence 2007 BRRip 720p x264 -MgB.mp4_snapshot_01.26.25_[2012.01.29_18.14.32]In the end, after being lured to Mary Shaw’s theater, with the help of the detective, the protagonist successfully burns all 100 dolls in the theater in addition to Billy at his father’s home, thinking he brought an end to Mary Shaw’s terror. But he was mistaken. The ‘perfect doll’ Mary Shaw wrote about in her diary was revealed, bringing the number of dolls up to 102. The protagonist also discovered a horrible secret about his unconcerned old father, that he was a victim of exploitation by that ‘perfect doll’. That was one shocking ending!

Overall, I think the film is worth watching if you’re looking for a classic-looking horror flick. It was such a refreshing experience. There is much more detail in the movie, but I didn’t want to get deeper into it in the review to not spoil everything. I’ll leave that to you!

I gave the film a 7/10 rating on IMDB.

Posted January 29, 2012 by H. H. in Movies

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BBC’s "Origins of Us" — review/synopsis   2 comments

A new 3-part documentary from the BBC pinpoints a commonly-asked question; how we, humans, came to be? what makes you who you are?

The documentary is presented and narrated by Dr. Alice Roberts who travels to Africa and to other high-tech modern laboratories to tell a story many of us are eager to listen to. Most of the time Dr. Roberts bring up comparisons of us against our closest relatives; chimpanzees. We share almost 99% of our genes with that family, and although we are not direct descendants from it, both of us are direct descendants of a common ancestor.

origins 2The first part of the series, titled BONES, Dr. Roberts tells us why our human physique is fundamentally different from that of apes. We have longer lower limbs and shorter arms. We can run fast, but we cannot climb trees. We can hold objects by one hand, while apes can hardly do that. The differences are evident in that they appear to be evolved in response to apes leaving the forests and heading to open plains. And why this happened in the first place is explained by a purely geological reason; Africa was getting drier and drier, and forests were diminishing, so apes were obliged to survive in the open fields of the savannah. Subtle, but critical, changes to the human body includes evolution and development of the gluteus muscles, especially the gluteus maximus, a muscle vital for running; our ankle joints no longer permit dorsiflexion to the levels seen in chimpanzees; our thumbs became more versatile, enabling us to hold objects easily with one hand, freeing the other hand for tool use.

English: Alice Roberts and Michael Lewis at We...The second part is titled GUTS. Most prior research has speculated that early homo species largely depended on meat for survival, and that was the reason their brains have become larger and larger over time. However, no definite evidence backs up this theory. Dr. Roberts does a comparison of a chimpanzee jaw and a replica of her own jaw. Her replica has shown that it could cut more efficiently through meat, as the teeth of humans appear to be narrower and thus sharper. On the other hand, another test demonstrated that human saliva has 6 times more amylase than that of chimpanzees; amylase is a crucial enzyme in starch digestion that initially occurs in the mouth. So, it seems that humans evolved to be as proficient carnivores as herbivores. However, the question still remains; which type of food was their primary source? To answer this question, Dr. Roberts travels to East Africa to meet an indigenous group living a primitive life. Those people are called Hadza, and Dr. Roberts thinks that their lifestyle is largely similar to that of early humans. After staying with them for a day, Dr. Roberts concludes that their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, the one early human speculated to had been, tends to lean towards the gatherer side. It’s realistic after all, because hunting large animals is not easy as it seems.

The final part is titled BRAINS. It’s obvious that our developed brains shape the way we behave as humans. But why would our brains develop so much, quadrupling in size in comparison with our earliest human ancestor, when such increase in size would demand excessive energy consumption? The answer lies in the fact that our early human ancestors faced a very tough environment to tackle. And it happened that each single brain development in the face of an obstacle led to the appearance of a skill, which itself opened up new doors to explore. From understanding eye language to sharing ideas, theories, and concepts in the form of names, to planning for tomorrow – such unique human abilities paved the way for us to colonize the globe.

You can download and watch this documentary by joining the MVgroup, a sharing community for documentaries. Here is the link.

Posted January 11, 2012 by H. H. in Articles, Documentary, Science

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99, again!   4 comments

After a painful wait, I’ve just received my score report, saying that I passed the USMLE Step 2 CK exam with a score of:

99/256

I’m thrilled!

You can read about this in detail here.

Congratulations, Egypt is now free.   2 comments

Flag of Egypt

Posted February 11, 2011 by H. H. in Egypt

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Windows Live Essentials–Mail, Writer–Surprisingly Good   Leave a comment

Posted January 11, 2011 by H. H. in Internet, Personal Likes

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We Need Batman Here   2 comments

I’ve just come across news about the new Batman comic series, Batman Incorporated. The plot is simple: Bruce Wayne has returned as the original Batman and will be stepping out of Gotham to visit different countries around the world to fight crime there and employ new local Batmen. I was really surprised to not see the flag of Egypt on the comic cover. It should be there! Why is Batman visiting Japan in the first place? I think he should take a look at this…

…and may be he’ll change his mind. We actually need a batch of Batmen here!

Posted December 17, 2010 by H. H. in Articles, Corruption, Egypt

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99   2 comments

I’ve talked about that on Facebook and on other medical forums, but I’d forgotton to mention it here in my beloved blog! How shameful!

Well, I’m glad to say that I passed the USMLE Step 1 with a score of:

99/241

You can read about my exam experience, my score reporting thread, and a few questions that I’d written before I took the exam.

I’m currently preparing for Step 2 CK.
Best of luck to everyone preparing for the USMLE (or any other exam!).