Newest Review: ... it centres around conversations the family have whilst driving along the lonely, dark road. When settling to watch Dead End, I was expect... more
A change isn't always as good as a rest!
Dead End (DVD)
Member Name: GentleGenius
Dead End (DVD)
Advantages: Intriguing, well-acted, a horror film with a difference, great dialogue
Disadvantages: Too dark to see some of what was going on
RELEASED: , Cert. 15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. mins
DIRECTORS/SCREENPLAY: Jean-Baptiste Andrea & Fabrice Canepa
PRODUCERS: James Huth, Sonja Shillito, Gabriella Stollenwerck & Cecile Telerman
MUSIC: Greg De Belles
Ray Wise as Frank Harrington
Lin Shaye as Laura Harrington
Alexandra Holden as Marion Harrington
Mick Cain as Richard Harrington
Amber Smith as The Lady In White
FILM ONLY REVIEW
It is Christmas Eve and Frank is driving his family to his mother-in-law's house for the festivities. Bored and reluctant at spending yet another family Christmas in this way, he decides to vary things a bit and takes a different route to usual.
The Harringtons find themselves on a lonely, dark road which seems never-ending.
As the family continue their journey, they have little arguments punctuated with a few jokes - even some loving words - but things get very difficult when they spot a young woman wandering in the middle of the road, all dressed in white, carrying a baby in her arms.
Also, where is Marcott, a place for which sign-posts appear at intervals on the roadside?
From that point onwards, things become decidedly weird, with Frank wishing he'd taken his usual route.
Who is the young woman in white? What, if anything, does she want...and, what is the menacing black car which periodically appears?
That is a very loose outline of the basic plot, so to find out what's going on, you must see the film for yourself.
Dead End is a very difficult film to précis, because although things do happen, much of it centres around conversations the family have whilst driving along the lonely, dark road.
When settling to watch Dead End, I was expecting something maybe not unwatchable, but pretty run-of-the-mill regarding films of this type where a group of people, in this case a family, find themselves in an isolated location late at night.....that's usually when the 'creepies' start to happen. Although this is still the case with Dead End, I was very surprised to find myself instantly drawn into the film, enjoying the conversations the family was having whilst Frank drove, which were quite dialogue-intensive.
I had to smile here and there at Richard Harrington, Frank and Laura's attitude-ish, cheeky teenage son, plus some of the things he said.
As the family's journey progresses and the plot deepens, various little secrets emerge which they were previously hiding from one another. It appeared to me that the stressful situation and events which occur, put each family member (apart maybe from Richard) into emotional overdrive, whereby they are unable to 'keep mum' about certain things any longer. Some of these secrets revelations are quite interesting, and I love the way such fitted so smoothly into the dialogue.
The acting by all main cast members is really good with me not having a particular favourite, as each actor gave a lot, but as far as their characters is concerned, I was especially drawn to young Richard (played by Mick Cain). If I had a teenage son going through a similar phase to what Richard appears to be in the film, I wouldn't be too happy - but it was something I could comfortably raise a smile about whilst watching on screen.
I can't say I was aware of too much of the musical score, but near the beginning of the film, there was a slight blast of heavy metal music which did make me jump as I wasn't expecting it, plus I was listening to the film through headphones, which increased the shock factor and blasted my ears almost to smithereens.
One thing which I did find difficult and irritating is that Dead End is 99.9% filmed in darkness. Of course that's to be expected with it taking place at night in the middle of an unlit nowhere, but it was rather frustrating to not always be able to clearly see what was going on. It would have been nice for the film crew to have cast a little light into the proceedings, even if only dimly....just enough to make out the details of certain happenings.
There are a few surprises during the Harringtons' road journey, most of which are delivered via conversation, but another little frustration for me was that surely if anybody else was in a similar situation, they'd take a different course of action in order to solve their problem of being lost....but, maybe the Harringtons were too caught up in themselves to think properly and if they had have acted more efficiently, then it wouldn't have made this unusual, intriguing film.
I can't say that Dead End scared me particularly, but there were a couple of surprises at the end - not twists as such - just surprises. I didn't see the first of these coming, but the second, which closes the film down, I felt was totally predictable. However, it didn't really matter because I'd so thoroughly enjoyed Dead End.
This is a horror-type film with a difference in that although creepy things occur, the bulk and crux of Dead End flows from the dialogue rather than 'bump in the night' stuff and it is one of the most unusual I've seen in this genre.
I really do recommend Dead End. There are a couple of scenes within that could sicken or scare some people, but nowhere nearly as bad as I've seen in other films which are far more graphic - also, as everything which you see (apart from the very end) is in darkness, it could make those slightly gory episodes easier to stomach for the faint-hearted.
It is possible that some people may find Dead End a bit daft, but I hesitatingly suggest such could be due to not concentrating on the dialogue and expecting ghosts, creepies, psychos with axes or whatever else jumping out from all sorts of nooks and crannies. It isn't that sort of film really, albeit it does contain its fair share of bloody bits....mildly so.
I have noticed, while cruising through reviews of Dead End on various internet sites, that it appears to be something people either loved or hated....I absolutely loved it!
I do so badly want to be able to give Dead End the full five-star whack, but must knock one off regarding the darkness issue, as such did slightly mar my enjoyment.
At the time of writing, Dead End can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £2.49 to £9.99
Used: from 19p to £5.99
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
Summary: I really loved, loved, loved this somewhat off the wall film!