Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
Dyfed Russell Hughes
What's it about
Three different perspectives of survivors from inside a city that has been overrun by zombies.
Is it good movie?
DEADCITY looks like it was made by a guy and his buddies on the lowest possible budget. This isn’t a bad thing, it lends the movie a certain charm. These guys do remind me a lot myself, just from across the pond. They’re enthusiastic movie geeks with a romantic idea of making their own contribution to filmdom. And they obviously have excellent taste; one scene in the movie features a lingering cameo from a JoBlo T-shirt. Sweeeeet!
The movie is split into three segments. The first, “Suburban Nightmare”, features writer-director James Kennedy as a man on his girlfriend’s porch begging for her to let him in, just as a zombie apocalypse has hit the streets. Why does Kennedy never raise his voice above a calm whisper when talking to this girl through the front door? I don’t quite get it. The second segment, a little bit better, is called “Trapped in the Cinema”. Here there are three survivors including Dyfed Russell-Hughes, who unlike some of his co-stars actually seems to have some natural acting ability. The final and easily longest story is “The Bar”, with a couch-full of guys who don’t seem to care that the world is falling apart and head out to the local pub for more booze. Unfortunately, none of these stories really lead anywhere at all.
It’s hard to avoid looking downright cheap when making a movie as... well... cheap as this one. Not surprisingly, there are plenty of moments when budget limitations and overall inexperience are in evidence. The lighting is poor in some scenes; one lengthy dialogue exchange at the beginning of the cinema segment suffers because the actress to the right in the shot is completey hidden in darkness (intentionally?). There are a lot of times where extra foley or sound work would have enhanced the moment. And, when you wrangle everyone you know to play zombies, you end up with a lot of bad zombie extras. Like I said, problems like these are kind of impossible to sidestep when you’re working on a budget that is probably the equivalent to a single meal of catering for the recent PROM NIGHT remake. However, the first story in particular uses news and radio recreations to good effect, giving a sense of the bigger picture in a cool way. There are other moments like this in which you believe that the film could have a much larger budget than it does.
Getting DEADCITY wrapped was obviously a hard journey for Kennedy and his crew. A lead actor, Stuart Garner, was killed in a car accident just after filming began, forcing writer-director Kennedy to seriously rethink how the shoot was going to proceed. Later, actress Kate Armstrong Clark was also killed. That’s a lot of tragedy for one small movie. Kudos to you guys for seeing things through and getting the movie finished.
Video / Audio
A handful of Deleted Scenes with lead-in text explaining why these scenes were cut.
A featurette called Titanic 2: The Making of DeadCity. I know why they called this the sequel to TITANIC: because it’s over an hour long. There’s a lot of casual chatty on-set stuff with people like Kennedy and actor/DP Greg Norton, and plenty of goofing around. But man, this is long.
In Confessions of a B Movie Superstar, Norton and buddy Sean Mason sit around and talk about geeky stuff like STAR WARS. These guys are pretty hilarious and I wouldn't mind hanging with them.
DEADCITY is made with a lot of affection and geeky nods to other films and sometimes I found myself enjoying it. It has its charms but it's so cheap and sloppy that I had pretty much tuned out by the end.
If you want to know more about the film, visit www.deadcitymovie.com.