Plot: What’s it about?
A team of horror movie buffs have been working on a low budget renegade film and to be honest, things haven’t been going too smoothly on the whole. The director tries to hold everything together, but his controlling sister seems to be mucking it all up. The problem is that since she’s paying for this little cinematic adventure, she has the power to say whatever she wants, to whomever she wants. A stoned director of photography, a horny and obsessed effects man, a leading man with big dreams, and a couple other more normal folks complete this band of potential filmmakers. They’re shooting inside an abandon hospital and while it makes for a cool location, there is much more danger within the walls than any of them expect. Two of them wander off during a break and discover a strange tape and assume it is part of the film, but it is far from that. Soon the team stumbles across a real corpse and in true visionary filmmaking style, they decide to use the dead person in their flick. But then this “prop” is accidentally brought back to life and after all, all hell breaks loose as more and more zombies emerge to take care of these folks.
I love zombie movies and gore flicks in general, so I was looking forward to checking out this disc when it arrived. I had read some positive reviews and I was ready to check it out for myself. I wanted to like this movie, but in the end I was left disappointed. This seems to me like Swingers of the horror scene, a flick that tries way too hard to seem cool and credible. The non stop name dropping and horror culture references might work for some, but it all seemed stale to me. I like the gore and special effect work, but little else clicked with me on any level. I am by no means biased against modern horror movies, but this one seems at the MTV generation and maybe it’s just me, but I am not scared of thrash metal and Rob Zombie look alikes. I am a fan of most of the films referenced in this picture, but I tired of hearing them said by folks who looked like rejects from The Real World. I expect mediocre acting from flicks like this, but these guys reek of posers and seem so unnatural talking about horror and the history therein. I recommend a rental to those who need to check it out, but Full Moon’s disc is loaded and makes for a value for fans.
This film was written and directed by Dave Parker, who makes his feature film debut with this flick. Parker’s writing is decent, but he relies too much in culture references and such, which drags down the originality of the dialogue. It just seems like a horror version of Swingers or similar films that are desperate to seem cool. I think the concept is a good one, but the forced dialogue and poor casting seems to doom this one from the opening credits. The music also pulls down the impact a couple levels and I have never understood why people think thrash metal suits this genre so well. This just seems like an MTV version of a zombie movie and that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Parker shows some potential at times, but needs to focus on the basics instead of begging for coolness points. I think the cast is pretty bad most of the time, though Jamie Donahue (Stop It You’re Killing Me) does spark on a couple occasions. The rest of the cast seems like hip teens that should be in the new Saved By The Bell, not a horror flick. Those folks include Rick Irwin, Eric Clawson, Matt Stephens, Kimberly Pullis (Ringmaster), Wendy Speake (Freshmen), Benjamin P. Morris, and Brett Beardslee (If I Had A Hammer).
Video: How does it look?
The Dead Hate The Living is presented in a full frame transfer, which retains the original aspect ratio of the film. This is a nice overall transfer, though some flaws emerge from time to time. The main problem with this transfer is the compression, which produces frequent edge enhancement and shimmering. These effects aren’t always distracting, but on a few scenes they do prove to draw you away from the events. But aside from those compression flaws, this is a very good visual presentation. The colors are rich and never bleed, while contrast is complex and well balanced at all times. This transfer doesn’t look as polished as a bigger budget effort, but it does look quite good.
Audio: How does it sound?
This isn’t the type of movie that needs a dynamic audio track, so the included stereo mix is more than adequate. I’m sure the music would have sounded more immersive is a full on surround track, but the overall experience here is effective. The sound effects some across in fine form and never distort or overwhelm the other elements. You won’t notice much power, but then again this material doesn’t call for it. The dialogue is also solid in this mix, with crisp vocals and no volume issues in the least.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This is a loaded disc and fans of this flick will have loads of fun with all these supplements. An audio commentary with the director and various members of the crew, which contains a lot of information on which films each scene was lifted from. This track confirmed my opinion that much of this film is copied from other horror films and even made me think even more about how much I dislike the writing and characters. You’ll also find talent files, the film’s trailer, and galleries of photos and production art. A music video for Penis Flytrap’s Tears Of Blood is also found here, as is a VideoZone featurette devoted to this movie.