Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nine Dead or Maybe Eight: A Movie Review

Director: Chris Shadley.

Writer:Patrick Wehe Mahoney.

Nine Dead
is a Hartbreak Film production that is a tightly wound thriller. Released on DVD in March 9th and the writing focuses on dramatic dialogue. The film stars Melissa Joan Hart, John Terry, and Daniel Baldwin. Thankfully most of Baldwin's scenes were cut in favour of a film that unravels like a jigsaw puzzle. This picture only reveals itself in the end.

Nine Dead begins with nine people from the Los Angeles or Las Vegas areas being kidnapped by a masked stranger. Not much later, these nine characters awaken in a dingy warehouse room handcuffed to metal poles. Each of these strangers are connected. They only have a few minutes to figure out what that connection is before being executed by the mysterious stranger.

The film is a thriller because the tone is tense, motivations are hidden and each of the character's reveals something about themselves that is very vulnerable. Not everyone is who they appear to be. The upright lawyer is a murderer, the cop is a philanderer, and the ex-con is a rapist. This last one is not hard to imagine, but all the characters have something to unload from their past. The dialogue and interaction between characters keeps the atmosphere tense. What of the flaws?

With every film there are imperfections and with Nine Dead there is ADR, or post-production dubbing and the ending is weak. On a big screen the character's lips do not synchronize. The difference is subtle, but distracting to a trained eye. On a similar note, the ending with Melissa Joan Hart's character Kelley escaping into a sequel is laughable. The killer taped and broadcasted the videos of his misdeeds, so for Hart's character Kelley to expect escaping home free is hilarious. The open ending is unnecessary.

The dramatic writing and multi-layered writing creates for an enjoyable time as characters interact and conflict. This film was five years in the writing so the film has some complexity. Although many of the scenes happen within one room the story is still enjoyable. The writing all unravels within a short time period with only the ending coming out of nowhere.

Already available on DVD, Nine Dead is a worthwhile time spent with some complex characters. This is more thriller than horror and Nine Dead shows some excellent writing by creating characters with something to hide. Have a look at Nine Dead now as most of Baldwin's scenes have thankfully been cut.

Overall: 6.75 out of 10.

More details at the film's website:

Nine Dead Homepage

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