DEAD DICKS is one part psychological horror fantasy and one part commentary on mental health. The topic of suicide is still very taboo and is still considered very shameful within society; however, the way it’s portrayed in DEAD DICKS makes it partially passionate and comical to an extent.

DEAD DICKS is centered around the relationship between a brother and sister. Our two primary characters, Becca and Richie, have a very toxic relationship. Richie is Becca’s mentally unstable suicidal brother and the film provides a backstory explaining that Richie frequently calls on Becca to support him emotionally whenever he has a crisis. The film opens with Becca receiving a letter accepting her into grad school which means that she’ll have to leave her brother to essentially “fend for himself” emotionally.

The films opening sequence of Richie killing himself was riveting. It’s a long, roughly two-minute sequence of Richie suffocating himself with a plastic grocery bag. While watching I couldn’t help but wonder if that’s even physically possible. Wouldn’t your brain prevent your muscles from allowing you to complete the action? Anyway, I digress.

Becca receives a frantic phone call from her brother while she’s at work. Actually, she receives several frantic phone calls. Once she arrives at her brother’s house she finds that he’s hung himself by a belt in his hall closet. Panic and grief erupt over Becca, that is until her brother comes walking around the corner eating a bowl of cereal with his dick fully out and swinging. Richie explains that he’s killed himself multiple times and shows Becca all of his own dead bodies throughout his apartment. This is when the comedy really begins to shine through for the movie. The comedy almost holds a crude sense to it, making jokes about hacking up the multiple bodies, cutting to scenes of the upstairs neighbor becoming increasingly frustrated with the noises coming from Richie’s apartment.

The cause of this conundrum that’s taking place in Richie’s apartment is this strange vaginal looking stain portal on Richie’s bedroom wall. It’s even mentioned in the film, but I say vaginal because, well, it looks like a vagina. Also, every time Richie kills himself he’s birthed through this vaginal wall portal and hardly remembers what happened until he sees his own dead body. Speaking of the dead bodies, they have to comedically shuffle around the bodies while they move around the apartment in preparation to actually hack the bodies into pieces for disposal.

Now that we’ve gotten the comedy out of the way, let’s talk about the actual seriousness of DEAD DICKS. Richie is suicidal and has stopped taking his meds. This alone addresses the depth of mental health. Suicide is a word that makes people shudder. I’ve personally dealt with my own demons caused by anxiety and my high levels of self-doubt and lack of confidence have brought me, mentally, into some very dark places. During those times, I felt alone, but I now know there are many other people that have been in this same dark place. This is something that’s addressed through the character of Richie in DEAD DICKS and I truly appreciated that. Though the film made light of suicide it wasn’t in a way that was disrespectful to individuals struggling with their mental health and I respected that as I watched.

Overall, DEAD DICKS may not be a traditional horror film, but it shines a light on how struggling with mental health is an utter fucking nightmare. This isn’t something I would typically choose to watch, but the premise of this film was compelling. There are certainly horror elements within the movie with the hacking of bodies and the occasional on-screen blood and dismembered body parts. Taking all of this into consideration, I had a really good time watching DEAD DICKS. I think what Director and Writers Chris Bavota and Lee Paula Springer have done with this film was completely original and I’m excited to hear what other viewers will think of this. If you’re presented with the opportunity to check out DEAD DICKS, please do yourself that favor! The run time is just under an hour and twenty minutes which actually makes this a relatively quick viewing.

DEAD DICKS had its World Premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

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