Mr. William Nightshade Reviews Dead End (2003)

Salutations my screechers, screamers, and scary dreamers,

Tonight’s tale of terror entitled “Dead End” finds a family of four and a future fiancée cruising cross country on Christmas for a family feast. Dad decides to take a deserted road resulting in run ins with a weird woman in white and a hostile hushed hearse.

The structure is reminiscent of “The Twilight Zone” where the leads are battling against the unknown and the writers let us watch each character exist instead of piling on twist after twist.  Using such a simple story becomes part of the appeal as it gave all of the proceedings a very retro feel.  In fact it seems to be part of the aim to keep us guessing on the timeframe because apart from some rock music and a useless cell phone this story seems to exist in an era all its own.

Since the story is simple the focus is on the players and half of them offer up a lot of neat layers.  As we watch them reason, bicker, and feel fright it is hard not to empathize with their plight.  Of special note is the lovely Lin Shaye who played her part in a very different way from how she has been seen in recent horror works and she ends up being one of this film’s greatest perks.

The violence presented is fairly tame as they manage to keep most of it out of frame but I do feel that it must be said there are three scenes with quite a bit of bloodshed.  The first two events are fairly comic while the third one was surprisingly sick so while I will admit it was a shocking blow to me it came off as nasty and low.  The scene threatened to derail the movie’s vibe because it so obviously did not jibe but luckily they cut the proceedings short and the picture was strengthened by the quick abort.  To my weak stomached readers I feel I should note that while the gore may be rather remote this picture is not squeaky clean and there is still a fair amount of blood on the screen.

Story/Concept: 1
Direction/Style: 2
Scares: 0
Atmosphere: 1
Rewatchability: 2
TOTAL: 6/10 

In conclusion, this film eschews modern filler to bring us an old fashioned horror chiller so while it may not reinvent the wheel I greatly enjoyed its classic feel.

Stick to the shadows my fine friends.

Sincerely,
Mr. William Nightshade