DEAD ENVY was pretty much everything you’d expect from a low-budget horror flick, and I mean that in a good way. I was pleasantly surprised at the direction the film took: it was dark and mysterious enough to keep you intrigued and wanting more.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you this film was anything spectacular, but it’s enjoyable. DEAD ENVY follows aging rock musician David Tangiers (Harley Di Nardo), his wife Cecily (Samantha Smart), and Javy Bates (Adam Reeser). David and Cecily meet Javy in the first 10 or so minutes of the film when Javy saves David from a heckler after performing at a bar.
Through their conversation and thank-yous, David and Cecily, who run a hair salon to pay the bills, discover Javy is an aspiring hair stylist as well. As a way of showing their gratitude, (a theme that comes up later) the Tangiers invite Javy to apply at their salon.
Javy starts at the salon and begins to slowly weasel his way into David’s life; befriending Cecily, and revealing he too is a musician. The film gets its first hint at something creepy when we see Javy holding one of David’s hairstylists hostage, presumable because she was rude to him during his first day.
From here on out, Javy unravels, and so does the film. Javy drugs David and sets him up with another woman. The secret of this affair starts a rift in David and Cecily’s relationship… a rift wide enough for Javy.
A few days after the affair, the power at the salon goes out, due to David’s inability to pay the electricity bills. David, so bent on his music comeback, is slacking on taking care of his business. He visits the landlord for the building, Dawn (Carla Wynn) who fancies herself a medium and tells David of a visit from a bloodied Cecily from the spirit realm.
While David is with Dawn, Javy is taking care of Cecily, who is suffering from a panic attack. To show her gratitude (I told ya it would come back), Cecily invites Javy over for dinner. Once at the Tangier home, the film escalates very quickly. Javy has a breakdown, we see him speaking to a spirit version of his alter-ego, and we also discover Javy has an Annie Wilkes-like obsession with David.
DEAD ENVY, like I said, was nothing spectacular, but it was a fairly entertaining 71-minute film. Adam Reeser (Javy) played a great psycho and Samantha Smart was a beautiful and convincing wife of a rocker. Harley Di Nardo starred in, wrote, and directed the film. He was a convincing aging rocker and wrote a decent low-budget thriller.
Some of the scenes and actions were cheesy, but it was all believable and real enough where it avoided almost all special effects. This was a positive for the film. Dawn being a medium was unnecessary to me.
Major props to Di Nardo for the soundtrack though. I found myself thoroughly enjoying all the music throughout the film. Check out DEAD ENVY when you’re bored one night, it’s worth a watch, but it’s also totally skippable. If you decide to check it out: enjoy!
DEAD ENVY arrives in theaters in Los Angeles August 24th and debuts on Cable VOD and Digital HD September 3rd.
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