Cursed Conduits & Dead Silence (2007 Film)

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The New Bloody Mary/Mary as Witch

Mary Shaw is the new Bloody Mary, operating without the mirror—her conduits are the dolls she created by hand; her rebirth in this world is through the vessels she made. Bloody Mary is a supernatural spirit to dually scare children (folklore like this actually does have a function to make children behave through the threat of an unseen, usually supernatural entity) and as a sleepover game where one goes in to the bathroom with a candle and says her name. Eventually, she appears in the mirror. We even see this imagery play out when Jamie looks into a mirror and sees Mary behind him. Shaw wants to extract her own vigilante justice in severing the bloodlines of those who murdered her forever; her soul cannot rest until this is done.

Shaw could be seen as sympathetic after her murder, but killing Lisa and her unborn baby takes Mary straight into the role of villain. When one preys on a pregnant woman, it is often viewed as the murder of two lives instead of one as well as the vulnerability associated with pregnancy. It is also way horrifying that Mary murdered a child and turned him into a literal puppet on strings. Reality can be bent and, in this case, reality was twisted for a sick narrative of a most likely mentally ill woman playing “mother”.

I adore what Leigh Whannell did here, using the dolls as very literal conduits to bring Mary back into the world. Once the conduit is destroyed, Mary can’t come through. How else would she be here if not through the dolls she created/enchanted? Stopping her means destroying their little wooden bodies. Whannell also brings it back around to the title: dead silence is what is heard when Mary Shaw pokes a hole in the veil to our world.

We had a little bit too much confrontation with Donnie Wahlberg, who was underutilized (he did better in this same role for Saw 3) though I see why he was included the way he was: he was a plot device to give audience information we couldn’t have otherwise known. This movie worked better with the unhappy ending since Mary really thought this through. Sometimes evil isn’t stopped in our world—if every story had a happy ending, life would be a fairytale and that just isn’t true.

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