Dead List (2018)
Directed by: Holden Andrews, Ivan Asen, Victor Mathieu
Written by: Holden Andrews, Ivan Asen, Victor Mathieu
Starring: Deane Sullivan, Holden Andrews, Jan-David Soutar, Josh Eichenbaum, Matt Fowler, Nick Bandera, Rob Healy
Dead List is a Poundland Creepshow, that seems to rip off almost every horror film I can think of. From the seemingly pointless opener, opening credits, and final shot, there’s a bit of everything in here. Although it’s more of a horror anthology as opposed to a linear story, all the characters that get bumped off are connected, as they are all actors that tend to audition for the same roles, so most look quite similar. As each of the wannabe film stars are slain, the dots start connecting as to why this is happening, and you’ll soon have it figured out. The films’ lead, and quite possibly a stand in for Ethan Hawke by day, finds a creepy old book, or rather the book finds him, and whomever’s name you write in the book shall perish. In some pretty fun ways at times. All that’s missing is a creepy demon voiced by Willem Dafoe, ad you’ve got yourself a lawsuit. Each of the names in the book get their own segment of demise, be it via topical political issue, your skin melting off or voodoo balloon, there’s a nice array of fatalities in Dead List.
Despite it looking like it was filmed on an old phone, the fun anthology of horror manages to keep you interested throughout, as each short horror story is intersected with the woes of struggling actor Cal. He’s a whiny prick for the most part, and the story focuses back on him after each of his acquaintances are picked off one by one. As each segment ends, it clues you up a bit more about why these deaths are happening, until we get to the last scene when everything comes to a head. Some of the stories are rather short, with a couple of them not being much longer than 5-10 minutes, which helps keeps things moving, despite the fact it covers almost every horror cliche in the book. For the most part it’s quite good, but some questionable acting and direction do bring the experience down a peg or two. But there are a couple of supporting performances that are very good indeed. Kush the loveable stoner, meets an unfair (he’s possibly the least deserving of the group to be put on the list) but brilliant demise, as out of all the characters he’s the least irritating. Bob who is just out of rehab, and moonlighting as a clown for kids parties, goes on the bender to end all benders, before being haunted by a creepy clown, with moments not too dissimilar from It. Both of these sections in the film are the standout, with excellent production, effects and performances. The latter in particular being an impressive portrayal of a mans descent into drug fuelled madness.
There’s no dressing up the fact that it’s a cheap Creepshow, but with a bit more of a budget behind it, it could have been more than a Twilight Zone knock-off. That being said, it was entertaining and engaging despite some ropey acting here and there.