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Stopped Dead

USA 2009
produced by
Jason Liquori, Nancy Liquori for Hocus Focus Productions
directed by Jason Liquori
starring Debbie Rochon, Joel D. Wynkoop, Karen White, Kevin White, Heather Noel Clark (= Heather Saint-Noel), Johanne Marie Maurasse, Mike Christopher, Kurt Beckelman, Melissa Morse, Cyndi Crotts, Kenneth Matthews, Catherine R.Mitchell, Megan Spiven, Jeffrey Pane, W.Lee Schwister, Philip Boland, Randall Thorton, Willam Tillery, Shade Burnett, Toni Randall, Brianna Cellini, Melanie Robel, Michelle Dion
written by Jason Liquori, music by Robert Reider

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Dante (Kevin White) and Minerva (Karen White) take their good friends Bob (Joel D. Wynkoop) and Margaret (Debbie Rochon) on a camping trip in their new van - but the trip seems to be doomed from day one as Bob ... well, he's not in the best of moods, has nightmares of murdering Margaret, and to make matters worse, he thinks she's having an affair with Dante. He hides all of this behind a slightly obsessive attitude, trying to keep to a schedule noone has ever agreed on, and (unintentionally) spoiling everybody's fun. Dante and Margaret take it easy though, which - based on his suspicions - infuriates Bod even more. Eventually, he takes a walk just to let off steam, sneaks up on a bunch of bikers partying by a campfire, and ...

Bob comes dashing back to the car, insisting he has seen a murder, and "they" are after him.

Speeding through the night, Bob pretty much causes two accidents, but after a while, the bikers actually do catch up with the van, take a few shots at it ... and miss? Somehow Bob manages to shake the bikers, and in one of the next towns, he can actually be convinced to tell everything to the police - but his story has holes. Somehow Bob manages to convince his friends though that the police have conspired with the bikers, and they are on the run now. So almost aimlessly they drive through the countryside for days, and Bob's paranoia seems infectuous. But there are a few things odd every here and there: Why seem their cellphones to never work, why are all the payphones Bob tries broken, why do they leave a trail of murdered people behind them ... and why is one of the officers (Johanne Marie Maurasse) they reported the murder to following them.

And then Margaret just goes outside for a pee ... and ends up dead ...

 

A fun low budget take on Race with the Devil (the film is even quoted in this one), but told from a radically different perspective and with a radically different outcome. Sure, the film is not perfect, and sometimes the lack of budget does show (especially in the very downplayed chase scene with the bikers) - but on the other hand the very restricted sets actually work in the film's favour, and the script is well-written with a proper build-up and plenty of scenes of tension and suspense, while not forgetting to let a hint of humour sneak in. And Joel D. Wynkoop hams it up gloriously (but fittingly so), while the always dependable Debbie Rochon is great as usual.

Pretty good, actually!

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
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