Wednesday, October 6, 2021

#2,629. The Dead Ones (2019)


With The Dead Ones, director Jeremy Katsen and writer Zack Chassler attempt something quite unique, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to call the final result a rousing success, it is, at times, a fascinating horror film.

Four teenagers: Mouse (Sarah Rose Harper), Scottie (Brandon Thane Wilson), Emily (Katie Foster) and Louis (Torey Garza), are sentenced by teacher Ms. Persephone (Clare Kramer) to spend an entire night cleaning their high school. Soon after they arrive, however, several masked gunmen turn up, locking all the doors and trapping them inside the building.

While searching for a way out, the four friends come to realize there’s more to this tense standoff than meets the eye.

The opening scenes of The Dead Ones are a bit jarring; we the viewer are thrown into the story headfirst, knowing nothing about the characters or why they’re being punished. But Katsen does manage to drop a few hints as the movie unfolds, and the imagery is intriguing enough to keep us watching in the hope it will all eventually make sense.

And it does, but at a price; by the halfway point Katsen and Chassler had revealed one too many clues, and I figured out the film’s big twist a good 30 minutes before it was revealed.

Yet despite it’s obvious outcome, The Dead Ones features a few disturbing moments (especially what transpires when the gunmen get down to business) and one or two decent performances, led by Harper’s turn as the shy, introverted Mouse (the scene where Mouse tells a story about a former pet is actually kind of heartbreaking).

Even if it does come up short in the end, I give The Dead Ones credit for trying to do more than most.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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