THE DEAD ONE
Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
Joel David Moore
What's it about
Diego wakes one day to find that he has apparently been dead for a year with friends and family still mourning his passing. Thanks to an incident when he was younger, Diego’s soul is controlled by Aztec gods who want him to do their horrible bidding. Plastered with bad Halloween makeup and now possessing superhuman qualities, Diego struggles to overcome the influence of the evil forces with his newfound ability to heal people through touch. If you’re still following this, good for you. Have a cookie or something.
Is it good movie?
THE DEAD ONE is based on a comic book called EL MUERTO: THE AZTEC ZOMBIE by Javier Hernandez. I didn’t realize this at first, and was a bit puzzled by an opening title font which looked like it was about to introduce a Tom & Jerry movie. The film’s opening moments heavily emphasize the comic book inspiration in a jarring way. The rest of the movie doesn’t improve. It’s nonsensical, ridiculous and boring in every way you don’t want your comic book adaptation to be, and worse, it seems it’s trying to be scary in parts. Thanks to silly CG effects and a hatchet job in the editing room, it’s not only unscary but at times it doesn’t make a lick of sense.
After a prologue that explains how Diego received his curse, we jump forward in time and find out the he is being played by THAT 70s SHOW’s Wilmer Valderrama (the poor guy, he’ll forever be Fez). Diego is visited by the Aztec gods (represented by lame storm effects that show up everywhere) on the Day of the Dead. After he is resurrected, death begins to follow him everywhere as he searches for a sacrifice for the vengeful Gods that would usher in the beginning of an apocalypse. He makes contact with his former girlfriend Maria (Angie Cepeda) and friend Zak (Joel David Moore), and the movie goes through all the familiar motions before a silly climax pitting good against evil. Pretty boring, all in all.
Valderrama does what he can, but Diego remains conflicted and whiney for most of the movie and the unexciting ghoul makeup (which reminds you at all times of The Crow) doesn’t help either. This is not a hero that you will root for. The rest of the cast is fine. Tony Plana (the dad from “Ugly Betty”) is there, and so is the very cool Michael Parks, who played Sheriff Earl McGraw in Tarantino’s KILL BILL saga and Rodriguez’s PLANET TERROR. Guess what character he plays here? Yep... the sheriff.
Director Brian Cox (no, not THAT Brian Cox) does a workmanlike job behind the camera. The direction is not inspired, but some scenes are nicely shot and better than could be expected from a low budget effort. However, THE DEAD ONE is an attempt at making a genre crossover film that falls flat on its face. It is not exciting or even interesting, and the plot is a mess, like some of kind of lame Latino GHOST RIDER rip-off.
Video / Audio
From reading the synopsis, you might think that THE DEAD ONE sounds cool and unusual, but it's dull and cumbersome. It's a cheapie title that seems to be trying to capitalize on the current comic book craze, but it packs no thrills to speak of.