Dead End (2003) Movie Review
Written By: TJ
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Fabrice Canepa
Producers: James Huth
Writers: Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Fabrice Canepa
Date Released: December 12, 2003
Ray Wise as Frank Harrington
Lin Shaye as Laura Harrington
Alexandra Holden as Marion Harrington
Mick Cain as Richard Harrington
Amber Smith as Lady in White
Billy Asher as Brad Miller
Steve Valentine as Man in Black
Rating: 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Dead End (2003) starts with Frank Harrington (Ray Wise) driving his family to his wife’s parents house to celebrate Christmas. During the drive, Frank decides to take a short-cut to the house. Unfortunately, Frank dozes off nearly hitting another car on the road. Now fully awake, he notices a lady in white carrying a baby somewhere in the woods within his peripheral vision. He stops and lets the strange woman in their car and takes her back to the cabin that they passed by earlier. But, things start to go terribly wrong when the lady in white along with Frank’s daughter’s boyfriend, Brad, go missing as everyone is out checking the cabin. From this point on, no one is safe.
Dead End (2003) does not incorporate a lot gore and the film never shows you anything that’s stomach-churning, but if you have a wild imagination then it will scare the wits out of you. That may be one reason why this film is interesting. Dead End provides you with just enough blood and gore to let your mind fill in the gaps. The most gory and probably disgusting scene you could get out of this film is when the mother has an orgasm while touching a bleeding head. Dead End keeps the gore under control while still delivering a fun little spine chiller with some clever moments.
The Grave Review
On its face, Dead End (2003) may seem like another paranormal-esque film. When this film started I thought, “this is just going to be another paranormal/slasher film with the same formula of people trapped in a car and being killed”. But Directors, Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa had something else in mind. Dead End managed to take a simple plot and turn it into something original, creative and interesting utilizing locations and minimal resources.
What makes this kind of film strong is the script and story. The writers for this film gave the cast some great lines to read, creating depth and realism to each character. With the script alone, we are told a complete story without the use of flashbacks or other grandiose scenes. In the story, we learned that Frank and his wife are on the verge of humdrum marriage and that Frank has been cheated on. We also learn that Richard looks up to his sister ever since they were kids. There are other dimensions to this film which all create more than a jump scare type of film but rather a film which also makes the viewers feel the character’s emotions.
The cast has an on screen chemistry that makes them look like a real family. Ray Wise being our main protagonist, gave a great performance with just the right blend of angst, authority, and humor. It was when he tells his daughter about the man that his wife is seeing that I admire him the most. You can see the contained pain for a long time through his eyes. Lin Shaye as his wife also gave her best in portraying a mother figure from the start and turning into a traumatized woman who has just seen her mutilated son. This film just proves that you don’t need computer-generated imagery and unnecessary effects to make an impression.
What I don’t like about Dead End is the camera shots are too dim, or let’s say, the cinematography as a whole needs more lighting. However, it was saved by the sound effects and the creepy musical theme that I should also mention. Towards the end of the film, the film fills in some of the unexplained events that have occurred throughout the film but still leaves it up to the viewer to come up with their own interpretation. Overall, Dead End was a clever, fun and entertaining film.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Dead End (2003) three and a half graves out of five graves.
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