Dead Mary: Unrated

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

As they move toward their 30s, a group of college friends decide to reconnect and spend a weekend together. The plan was to kick back and escape from the real world for a while, remember the old days and of course, have a blast in the process. The group chose a cabin in an isolated stretch of woods, where the world would be out of reach, if even for a little while. As time passed, the group splintered into small groups, where discussion of life in general unfolded. The friends have a lot to discuss, from love to work to dreams and beyond. Some have had bad experiences in the real world, including Kim (Dominique Swain) who just broke up with her long time boyfriend, who is also part of the group. The guys talk to the guys and the gals talk to the gals, then the group reforms and a roundtable opens. But when the group decides to play a game called Dead Mary, what is supposed to be fun turns grim, when the game proves to be more than they bargained for. As the vengeful spirit begins a reign of terror, can the friends somehow survive and send Dead Mary back where she belongs?

This movie is not for those with short attention spans or horror fans who need constant splatter, as Dead Mary is more about the anticipation than the payoff. I was drawn to the movie thanks to the presence of Dominique Swain, but while she is hot as ever, she does little to turn the tide here. I don’t mind a slow burn, immense tension can be more disturbing than out and out scares, but only when done properly. While Dead Mary seems to be marketed as a slasher, it is more of a thriller, with some horror elements thrown in toward the conclusion. The plot takes a good while to roll in action, so expect a lot of tease, but not much payoff. Which is fine, as long as the finale really delivers and sadly, this one doesn’t. The blood flows in small doses, but at least some effort is made to lessen the volume of cheap scares, which I admire. You can tell the filmmakers tried to avoid some of the usual cliches, but they never do much to make Dead Mary stand out from the crowd. I wanted to like this one, especially with Swain involved, but Dead Mary is just another mediocre, direct to video horror flick. But if you’re in the mood for some horror and you’re out of options, Dead Mary is worth a rental.

Video: How does it look?

Dead Mary is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a solid looking effort, though the film’s low budget roots are evident. I found the image to be a little on the soft side, but still sharp enough on the whole, so no real concerns. The print is clean and compression is flawless, so no unwanted artifacts can be seen. The colors appear vibrant and bright, with no hint of errors, while flesh tones are natural throughout. I have no issues with the contrast either, as black levels seem accurate and consistent as well, so the movie looks quite good.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio track here is about what I expected, given that this is a low rent horror flick, not the best selection for pure audio potential. Although a Dolby Digital 5.1 track is found here, the material is driven by dialogue and low impact audio, so don’t expect a whirlwind of powerful audio elements here. The surrounds are visited to enhance the musical soundtrack, but aside from that, only a handful or so of scenes make use of the rear channels. This seems to satisfy the material however, as it never suffers and the front speakers handle the load rather well. The dialogue is crisp as can be and is never hard to understand, no problems whatsoever.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The included featurette runs just under half an hour, with a mixture of cast interviews, footage from the shoot, and of course, clips from the movie itself. This is better than most promotional featurettes I’ve seen, but don’t expect too much. This disc also includes a music video from Evolved Monkey, as well as the film’s trailer.

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