Film Review: The Dead Don’t Scream (2007)

SYNOPSIS:

A group of college kids go on a road trip to hell when they stumble across a small Texas Town with an entire economy based upon stealing cars and selling the parts. But what’s the town to do with the group of people that came with the set of wheels worth a mint? Easy, just chop them too! Callie talks her cute blonde cousin Tyler into going to the lake with her and her friends. Despite an ominous warning not to go to the lake from the friendly Cait, the kids continue on their quest for fun, sun, sex, and beer. As soon as they get to the lake two hot chicks come over and tease Tyler into a threesome and take him into the woods. Callie goes to find him and meets the creepy Esteban and his set of evil twin henchwomen.

It’s not long before they all find themselves dazed and surrounded by many more in the same awful predicament. Callie and friends escape their captivity, but it’s only out of the frying pan and into the fire for them as they discover workers at the factory disposing of others just like them. Uncle Buddy runs a tight shift here at the factory, where his precious and gruesome little granddaughter Betsy sits and stuffs her fat face with pretzels hand over fist as her uncle yells out his orders to security guards. A cat and mouse game begins between Esteban, security guards, those evil twins and Callie and her friends as you watch waiting to see the outcome of this horrid situation. Will anyone survive? Or will they all succumb to the fate that is passed onto them for going to the lake.

REVIEW:

New independent production “The Dead Don’t Scream” comes to us from writer/director Richard Perrin and 3 Peppers production. Before I make comments and dig in, please note that films such as this do reserve the right to be judged on a different scale than your latest Gary Oldman thriller or Wes Craven release. When you hear that a film was accomplished with 50K and then others have budgets of 30 mill it really is a night and day situation. As reviewers, this fact sometimes gets blurred jumping from one film to the other.

Local college kids on an beach outing begin to lose track of there friends who have strolled off and disappeared. While hard to turn down the sexual advances of young nubile youths, it becomes a trap that locals take advantage off per way of zap sticks and devious intentions. The kids stray into wooded areas just long enough to be kidnapped and placed into holding rooms for later extermination.

Then we have the small Texas town who has built there success off of stealing cars and selling parts all under the wing of the leader they call Uncle Buddy. Buddy and his family share a offbeat eeriness than you’d think were straight off a David Lynch film. The simple fact is, it’s downright creepy, especially Buddy.

It is revealed that many of the locals work for Buddy’s plant and have accepted the success it brings even though it requires stolen goods, killing travelers and using there bodies for God knows what. Guards police the building, and have no trouble killing, torturing or taking advantage of the youths seeing them as future corpses anyways. Our other mix of characters include a twin team of hunters who stepped right out of Rocky Horror, Estaban the suave kidnapper, a creepy daughter, and other local deviates that work along side Buddy.

“Dead Don’t Scream” is an accomplishment for this first out director and team. I don’t know all the facts of course but I would “guess” that it was filmed locally and by the number of actors involved with local first time actors who agreed to appear with little to no $. (Heck the food catering alone probably consumed a good portion of the budget) From the number of actors, my guess is half the town joined in. The actors are all young teens, dressed in not much more than bathing suits for most of the film. Being that many of the girls were pretty cute, this is a bonus for male viewers. Of of course some of the older actors that were given lead parts were hand picked to play specific character roles.

Surprisingly for a low budget feature is has all the goods that make it an enjoyable watch. It’s not perfect by any means, but its evident that the team put heart and soul into to it. The editing was pretty impressive for a new team and the sound through most of the film was pretty clean. I would have made the choice though to leave out the old style cross transitions and stuck with simple fades. Something about those always make me think generic.What I noticed first off was the great choice of cuts and camera shots that exceed many low budget productions.

There were alot of kids in this film and so with that fact there really wasn’t any stand out performances. A few more lines here and there but basically they were either meat for the slaughter of future meat for the slaughter, if you get my drift. FX were kept basic, some throat gags and an occasional blown off face. It would take 2 paragraphs to list all involved so I’ll leave it as a green but still working cast determined to make a film….and that they did.

The story was clever but also lacked information at times that took a while to grab onto. For instance, the town selling parts from stolen cars and the usage of the dead bodies was a confusion for me. All is revealed, so I was happy once we got clarification. In fact the last 5 minutes makes for a pretty good ending, just when I thought I was gonna have to question some of the facts.

The film? Not stellar, due to budget constraints and usage of what they have to work with but still impressive that they pulled it off, gave some new faces screen time and were able to weave an original story around it all. Good job team, we’re looking forward to what comes next.

The Dead Don’t Scream (2007)

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