Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dead End (2003)

DEAD END is an excellent and under appreciated independent Horror film that slipped through the cracks in 2003. It follows a family down an isolated back woods road on Christmas Eve while on their way to their grandmother's house. After a near collision, they continue traveling for hours without passing any other cars or towns. Each time they stop to check the map or use the phone, another member befalls a terrible fate as they continue down the road to no where. Though the reveal is entirely predictable from the beginning of the film, it is the path getting there that is the most enjoyable. The bickering family members reveal multiple layers of emotion and intimate secrets as their predicament grows from bad to worse, establishing rich dialogue and rounded characters. Ray Wise and Lin Shaye both provide stellar performances as the parents in what should be considered each of their best roles to date. The dark and desolate setting mixed with chilling sound FX sets a sinister tone as the family's calm demeanor begins to slip away. While there isn't much gore, there are several brilliantly crafted moments of suspense and true horror that are both shocking and unnerving. Considering the majority of the film takes place within the confines of the family vehicle, DEAD END must rely on the strength of its characters to draw the audience in. It achieves this and more, and ranks very highly on my list of independent Horror films from the last decade.

Rating: 8/10.
Gore: 4/10.
Number of views: 6.



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12 comments:

  1. Huh, somehow this one slipped past me, too! Gonna have to check it out.

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  2. When I saw this review on my blog roll, I was all like "Fuckin' Carl, man, better NOT talk any shit about my boy Ray Wise in this awesome flick." And you didn't. So hooray, I get to let you live!!!! God bless us, everyone!! ;)

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  3. I liked this film - moody and intriguing. And it's got Ray Wise in it!

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  4. I thought Ray was fantastic in it, I asked him about the role when he was at the convention two years ago and he said it was an excellent filming experience. He and Lin both kick ass!

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  5. Wow, I never heard of this one either. I'll have to check it out.

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  6. Glad you gave this the credit it deserves. Great story, nice twist at the end and excellent acting...sorry but I gotta chime in on the Ray Wise lovefest as well. Guy totally has that creep-out factor I love in everything he's in and he's no different in this one evebn though he plays the dad. That's cool you got to meet him.

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  7. I never got that movie, maybe because I just can't make it beyond the half way mark, I find the beginning to be terribly dragging and there's simply nothing that would let me on any level connect to those people at least so much as to remotely care what happens to them.

    Strangely enough somehow I always had this one written down as a French Horror, which would explain why I don't like it. :-)

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  8. There are two reasons why you are correct OF, it was directed by a French director and I believe it is originally a French production though it was acted in English, that much is true.

    As for the beginning, there is definitely a rough patch of acting in the opening act thanks for the less than stellar younger brother and fiancee. They bog down the true character development that starts up just shy of the half way mark in the daughter and the parents.

    You definitely have to go straight through to completely appreciate the movie, hopefully you will give it another shot someday!

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  9. huh? never heard of this one. sounds good though.

    when i read Dead End i was thinking of that movie with Elisha Dushku and a bunch of mutated hicks living in the woods.

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  10. Hence my hesitation to watch it originally, I thought it was a straight to DVD ripoff but it is nothing even remotely close to that generic turd.

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  11. Carl, I know I'm late as hell coming to this party (I saw you post the trailer today, so thought I would check out your thoughts on the movie itself)--but I loved this film! Can you believe I bought it for a buck only a few short months after it was released on DVD!? I had never heard of it, but I figured for a buck, why not? It was truly a low key and creepy experience. And Ray Wise is the Big King Shit.

    --J/Metro

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  12. Im glad you liked this one Johnny, it has been a long time personal favorite, and you definitely cant beat a buck!!

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