Silent But Deadly: Film Review
Jason Lockhart, Jacqui Holland
Dawn Wells, John Tartaglia, Lee Meriwether, David Proval, Camille Saviola, Jacqui Holland, Martin Kove, Jerry Douglas, Kiersten Warren, Rip Taylor, Bruce Vilanch
A masked serial killer dispatches the residents of a retirement home in this horror comedy.
The casting is the most creative element of Jason Lockhart’s comic horror film set in a retirement home plagued by a serial killer. Not to be confused with the 2011 film of the same name starring Jason Mewes, Silent But Deadly is mainly notable for its cast of aged thespians representing a cinematic version of Trivial Pursuit. Even its generic title, replacing the far more piquant original, Hotel Arthritis, feels old hat.
The story takes place at the Lake View Retirement Home, populated by a gallery of elderly eccentrics who, in the principal running joke, are a randy bunch indeed. Their problems include not only a masked killer diminishing their ranks even more quickly than natural causes, but also an STD outbreak that, come to think of it, is one of the film’s more realistic elements.
Director Lockhart, who co-scripted with actress Jacqui Holland (here playing a nubile activities director), has populated the witless proceedings with an array of recognizable faces, most notably Dawn Wells of Gilligan’s Island fame. It’s heartening to report that Mary Ann still looks pretty great.
The quirkily assembled ensemble also includes Lee Meriwether (Catwoman in the 1966 Batman film); Martin Kove (The Karate Kid movies, TV’s Cagney and Lacey); comedian Rip Taylor; David Proval, whose roster of memorable wise guy roles includes The Sopranos); writer/performer Bruce Vilanch); Jerry Douglas, who did a nearly thirty-year stint on the soap opera The Young and the Restless; veteran character actress Camille Saviola; and John Tartaglia of Broadway’s Avenue Q and Shrek the Musical).
The central murder mystery is essentially an excuse for the profusion of gags which are inevitably of the geriatric-themed variety, such as the home’s aged lothario proudly proclaiming, “I got my best hand job from her…she’s got Parkinson’s!” and a resident instructing a fellow senior diner to “gum your food.”
The cast members, who are no doubt happy just to be working, seem to be having a better time than will audiences, who will probably forego the theatrical experience to catch the film during a lazy session of late night cable television viewing.
Opens: Friday, Feb. 14 (Indican Pictures)
Production: Angry Leo, MJR Films, Pom Pom Pictures
Cast: Dawn Wells, John Tartaglia, Lee Meriwether, Dvid proval, Camille Saviola, Jacqui Holland, Martin Kove, Jerry Douglas, Kiersten Warren, Rip Taylor, Bruce Vilanch
Director: Jason Lockhart
Screenwriters: Jason Lockhart, Jacqui Holland
Producer: Michel J. Roth
Executive producers: John Mancini, Joey Stafura
Director of photography: Sam Rosenthal
Editor: Nathaniel Sticco
Composer: Matthew Carrier
Not rated, 97 min.