DEAD AND DEADER
Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
When a group of soldiers stumble upon an experiment involving flesh eating zombies and a bunch of scorpions, it ends up a suicide mission. The only problem is, they don’t seem to die, and it’s up to one soldier who is only slightly infected, to save the day. Half zombie…? Okay, I’ll bite.
Is it good movie?
Dead and Deader is nothing more than it seems. It is a cheesy zombie flick that was made for the Sci-Fi Channel. The special effects are decent, the actors are fine (if a bit too “in” on the joke) and the production design works. But as with many of the Sci-Fi Original Pictures, it is ultimately forgettable. And the story doesn’t help that too much. A bunch of soldiers find some kind of abandoned experiment and end up being blown up along with a bunch of scorpions and some flesh eating zombies. It almost felt like the opening to 28 Days Later but without the heart or scares of that flick. When all the soldiers are shipped back something is wrong in B-movie land when one of the guys, Bobby, played by Dean Cain, wakes up without a pulse or any other signs of life, right before his autopsy. Before he is permanently zombified, he cuts out one of those pesky scorpions from his body. So his mission is clear, rid the world of these undead eaters before the infection spreads and make sure he has as many pop-culture references spewed before the job is done. Along the way, he picks up a army chef, played by the dude from American History X, Guy Torry and a waitress played by Susan Ward.
Although I certainly wasn’t bored, the script made a reference to anything and everything every couple of minutes. Just to name a few, we had the ball from Phantasm, a bunch of Star Wars jokes, a bit on which is better, the Dawn of the Dead remake or the original. There were so many more that it would take the entire review to catch them all. Now, occasionally, this can work well, but it seemed there was no real originality in the script so why not poke fun, pay homage or do whatever to every other film or television show… the timely New Jack City reference was especially a head-scratcher. As for the actors themselves, I’m not really a fan of Dean Cain, but I though he, along with Guy and Susan had terrific chemistry together and made for an entertaining watch. I also thought the gore worked along with some worthwhile zombie make-up. But I prefer a little more originality and less “in” jokes when I watch a zombie flick.
Video / Audio
Video: This is a good 1.78:1 transfer but it sometimes felt a bit too dark.
Audio: Also good is the Dolby Surround, both in 5.1 and 2.0. As for the picture, this is not something to raise the dead for, but if they’re rising from the grave, I wouldn’t cancel the party.
For this film, the extras were pretty good. The Commentary with co-writers Mark A Altman (who also produced) and Steve Kriozere along with composer, Joe Kraemer. This is an energetic commentary where they talk about how much fun the movie was to make. And they also add an interesting story of how this was inspired by a news report. It’s worth listening if you happen to rent or buy.
The behind the scenes entry Raising the Dead: The Making of Dead and Deader (33:25) is an entertaining short. We meet the actors and are treated to the usual, behind the scenes goofiness and a few special effects moments. Not bad but not all that thought provoking. Yet I did appreciate not hearing anymore pop –culture references.
Finishing up the disc, we have a Still Gallery a DVD-ROM feature allowing you to read the script and of course… Trailers for “All Soul’s Day”, “Room 6”, “Dark Room”, “The Thirst” and “Pelts”.
If this script had been less about Miami Vice and Star Wars jokes, it might have been a little less annoying. Self-referential humor is fine but can be overkill if used too much. Here, in this zombie, comedy, horror film, it was too much. Too bad because the special effects were fine, and the three lead actors really played off each other well. This is not a terrible film and it might even be worth a look for anyone who loves zombie flicks, but ultimately, it is a forgettable Sci-Fi Channel popcorn flick. It is nothing special but not a total waste if you just wanna brain dead flick with the undead.