Friday, June 15, 2007



While on a Special Forces mission in Cambodia, Lt. Quinn (Dead Cain) and the rest of his small platoon are blown up in an abandoned research facility when they come across the remains of what appears to be a failed experiment. However, Quinn awakens two days later in an army base morgue just before an autopsy is performed on him. After several quick tests, it is determined that Quinn is still clinically dead. What is also quickly determined is that he alone has retained his cognitive and motor skills, while the rest of his team has become ravenous monsters hungry for human flesh.

Quinn attempts to destroy the creatures before they can cause more destruction, and in the process picks up an ally in the base's chef, Judson (comedian Guy Torry). When they are incorrectly suspected of being the killers, they escape the base and try to keep a low profile. But the infected undead have been multiplying, and when they stampede the bar to get the "food" inside, Quinn and Judson pick up a third ally, the bartender Holly. From the bar, the trio head for the funeral home where the last dead soldier should be, hoping to put an end the nightmare. But in their way stands Dr. Scott (Peter Greene), who's obsession with finding everlasting life to beat his cancer started the research in Cambodia!

In this made for the Sci-Fi Channel production, which gets just above its usual output by avoiding an abundance of CGI, a solid premise to bring the dead back to life is sadly destroyed by uneven pacing, forced comedic dialog, wince-inducing movie references within said dialog, and below standard acting. Dean Cain, who has fallen a long way from the Man Of Steel, does what he can with the material given, but does not make a very convincing soldier (Was Richard Dean Anderson busy? Don't they own him?). Guy Torry does his best Martin Lawrence sidekick impression here, and mixes in a bit of DEEP BLUE SEA's LL Cool J for some hammy spiritualism. The worst offender here though is Susan Ward as she attempts to channel Carmen Electra. Suspension of disbelief allows us to accept the dead can walk and that soldiers are allowed to have frost-tipped hair, but no amount of disbelief is going to gloss over that a character this hot is going to be quoting STAR WARS or talking about a thesis comparison of the two DAWN OF THE DEADs. It just isn't happening.

What the movie does going for it is Peter Greene (who gets "and" status in the credits) who brings his classic subtly psychotic and creepy demeanor to the screen. Though he doesn't get much screen time, he easily commands the scenes he gets and his brief character gets just enough back story to rise above one-dimensional villain. The other thing DEAD AND DEADER has going for it is the decent splatter and zombie effects. Throughout the movie we get a few get decapitations, some limb tearing, a hand in a meat grinder, some good head shots, and some good ol' fashioned gut-munching. The subtle make-up effects for Dean Cain are emphasized just enough to whisper "remember, I'm supposed to be dead" and get displayed in his multiple shirtless scenes. And as with any low-budget creature feature, they save the best for last, which in this instance is an action packed finale with our heroes battle a literal army of the undead in the catacombs of the military base.

Director Patrick Dinhut comes out of nowhere to make this his directorial debut. Dinhut has no other credits other than this picture, and the final product definitely shows. But Dinhut isn't the only one at fault. Screenwriter credit is evenly distributed between Mark A Altman, who gave the world both HOUSE OF THE DEAD movies, and Steven Kriozere, who is responsible for scripts to the television shows V.I.P., Team Knight Rider and several cartoon series. It is no wonder the entire picture is so disjointed, it has dueling personalities vying for style and attitude. A bit of shoddy editing, especially during the fade outs to where the commercials would have been during the television broadcast, keep the viewer firmly planted in the mindset that this was made TV. Underneath the time-padding material and out-of-place comedy, is a pretty good zombie tale worthy of being told in an hour-long horror anthology. Unfortunately, the only thing scary about this movie is that it was not told in this manner.


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