Hello again my scare bears. Today I’m going back in time to 2003 to review a movie recommended to me by my friend Tammy at twistedcentral.com (a site you should check out if you haven’t done so). Dead End was directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea, who really hasn’t done a lot so far in terms of directing, especially in the realm of horror. So will this movie actually BE a dead-end in terms of watching? Let’s find out.
For about twenty years, Frank Harrington has suffered through the tradition of driving to his mother-in-law’s home to spend Christmas Day there with his wife Laura and kids Richard and Marion (and this particular year with Marion’s boyfriend Brad). This time around, Frank decides to break the monotony by taking a different, more scenic route instead. With everyone else in the car napping, Frank himself end up falling asleep at the wheel and nearly collides with a passing car. After that scare, they continue on their way. But they end up stopping again when they spot a lone woman standing by the side of the road. Remembering a cabin they passed earlier, Frank takes the girl and heads back there to see if a working phone is there (because of course, there is no cell phone signal available there).
Troubles grow when Brad and the increasingly creepy stranger disappear, only for Brad to be spotted by Marion in the back of a black car that’s driving off into the darkness. The family gives chase, to find Brad by the side of the road dead. With Marion going into heavy shock, and the rest of the Harrington’s scared shitless, Frank wrangles everyone back into their car and take off, heading to the first town they find to tell the police what happened. The drive goes on and on with no town in sight, and things soon go from bad to worse for the Harrington’s. Will they get off this road and get the help they seek?
The first eight minutes worried me, as the family bickered a lot, and Richard Harrington was being a dick for much of it. That sort of thing just irritates me, not only because of how Richard was acting, but because there are so many movies nowadays that has so-called protagonists that I don’t care about. I think I’ve already mentioned that pet peeve before, so I”ll drop it here. As well, there were a couple of bad things that happen which sound like it would be awesome to watch, but happens off-screen, which was disappointing. Maybe there were budget or time restrictions, who knows?
Fortunately, the negatives pretty much stop there. For a movie where almost 90% of it takes place inside a station wagon, it’s very well done. The acting was convincing from everybody, from their calm sides to their emotional breakdowns. I found Lin Shaye’s performance as Laura especially entertaining during her breakdown.
As well, while I personally predicted the ending fairly early in, I was still into the movie enough that I didn’t get up once from my couch, nor did I even pause the movie for any reason. I loved the dark, creepy and somewhat claustrophobic atmosphere the movie delivered, and was eager to see what was going to happen next. The music seemed to be a bit much at times. However, going back through it I’ve quickly grown to like it, and wouldn’t want it to change.
So, this movie exceeded my expectations, and I recommend you check out Dead End if you haven’t done so. With the lights off naturally. Until next time, rest in peace. 🙂
Macabre Rating: 4 out of 5 tombstones