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Dead End

USA/France 2003
produced by
Sagittaire Films/Captain Movies, Canal+
directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Fabrice Canepa
starring Ray Wise, Alexandra Holden, Lin Shaye, Mick Cain, Amber Smith, Billy Asher, Steve Valentine, Karen Gregan, Clement Blake, Jimmy Skeggs

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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7.30, Christmas Eve: a familay - father Frank (Ray Wise), mother Laura (Lin Shaye), son Richard (Mick Cain), daughter Marion (Alexandra holden), & Marion's boyfriend Brad (Billy Asher) - are going to a family celebration, taking some lonley backwoods road ... but when Frank momentarily dozes off on the wheel, they almost have a fatal accident ... & that's when the troubles start.

Soon they meet a lady (Amber Smith) dressed in white with a baby who seems to be injured, & offer her to drive her at least to the next telephone.

However when they stop at a ranger's cabin, they leave her alone with Brad for a few minutes, who finds out her baby is not only dead but also horribly mutilated, both the lady & Brad are gone. & the last thing they see of Brad is him being driven off in a vintage black hearse ...

In pursuit of the hearse though, the family eventually finds the horribly mutilated corpse of Brad on the roadside - which puts Marion into an instant trance.

Driving back to civilisation to inform the police proves to be a task more difficult than it would seem though, as the road they are going on seems to stretch rather endlessly - & soon the fragile balance of the family seems to be breaking up ... until Marion comes out of her trance & tells everyone she's pregnant ...

Soon after that Richard decides it's a good idea to leave the family in the car & go for a stroll in the woods to smoke some weed - where he meets the lady in white again, who starts to seduce him & when kissing bites his lips off ...

& the last time he's seen alive is in the back of the black hearse that also drove Brad away. Soon they find Richard's corpse on the raóadside, boptally burned - & Laura thinks it's a good opportunity to tell Frank that Richard was not his son, before going totally over the brink.

It's only Marion who keeps a cool head now, & she unwraps one of the Christmas opresents they are teking with them ... a gun (which should give them some advantage).

When they next stop though, the rather loonie Laura gets hold of the gun & shoots Frank in the leg before she can be unarmed.

Driving on, Laura claims to see the ghosts of dead people in the woods ... & at some point just jumps out of the speeding car. When Marion & Frank stop the car to pick her up, they manage to keep the black hearse away with gunfire ... but Laura is slowly dieing anyways ...

The remaining duo soon decides to make it through the woods on foot, but like in a bad nightmare they end up at the car again ... & not only that, when they drive a little further on, they come to the exact cabin they have been hours before with the Lady in White ...

Entering the cabin, Frank thinks he sees the Lady again & agressively attacks her, but she just vanishes & he takes out his aggression on his own daughter knocking her unconscious, before going to the woods to hunt the Lady in White, but only running to his own death.

Marion regains consciousness again but has to realize she's all on her own & whatever it is is already outside the car. Driving off, it's only minutes before the car runs out of gas, & getting out, the black hearse is already approaching ... but the Lady in White, who appears behind her tells her it hasn't come for Marion & gets into the hearse, when ...

Marion wakes up in the hospital ... the almost-accident at the beginning was in fact a fatal one, hwving wiped out not only her family but also a lady in the other car with a babgy (the lady in white), & the black hearse was actually the car of the man (Steve Valentine) who saved her life by driving her to the hospital ...

 

Good spooker, if a tad old-fashioned ... but in a good way, even if the use of too many tried & true clichés keep it from being exceptional, & some scenes are too directly lifted from Blair Witch Project to still seem original. The ending though, in itself a total cliché, does please the viewer, since instead of eventually relating the whole mystery to some post-modern pseudo-psychological explanation (like in the flawed Identity) a nightmarish situation is revealed to be just that - a nightmare (like in the 1945 classic Dead of Night).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Thanks for watching !!!

 

 

Robots and rats,
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD