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Film Review: Dead Air (2009)

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Logan Burnhardt is the ego-king of the airwaves, but his unflappable persona is put to the test when a terrorist bio-attack unleashes a plague of flesh-ripping maniacs on Los Angeles.


One might call this deja vu, ..or if your not keeping up with things maybe it’s a fresh start. But “Dead Air” seems to be coming off of the same mold that “PontyPool” did. However you have to ask which came first the chicken or the egg? Well Pontypool was a 2008 release, so it’s anyone’s guess?

Though for the record, the whole viral outbreak thing comes off the heels of about a dozen movies…..so where does that leave us? Well I suppose its best to ignore all the other assembly line premises and just focus on “Dead Air” as a single element. Bill Moseley who is quickly becoming a favorite in the horror sector due to his ability to keep really busy these days and appear in all sort of roles, really is at his best with “Dead Air”. A far cry from the chop top roles that comes across his plate, Bill really proves he can take a pretty lengthy scripted dialog and tear it up. Though take not filmmakers, really you can’t go wrong with good ol Moseley.

Dead Air has a bit of that “Talk Radio” pizzazz of which i’m a fan of. I think this is because you experience alot of what’s going on merely thru the voice of narration. As in “PontyPool” this approach can be all inclusive or combined. “Dead air” takes the combination approach. We get to see the chaos, the transformation and the viral outbreak in addition to the on air narration. In some respect it shadows the War of the worlds paranoia but on a modern scale that is closer to home. The threat of a viral release is executed which proves to be destructive on a major level. The viral outbreak is originated by terrorists who by simply placing a canister of the stuff in an air shaft release and destroy a whole city. Well the inhabitants that is…but read on.

The virus produces a transformation that is permanent to the point of no return. There is a fore shadow though. When star radio DJ Logan Burnhardt decides that he needs a subject to fill the lack of material preparation for the nights show, he offers the subject of paranoia. The subject in turn becomes the reality as paranoia swings from talk radio to full blown mayhem.

The toxic virus released attacks subjects very quickly causing a transformation into madness. The bleeding from the eyes is the first giveaway but once you’ve gone crazy there is no returning to sane. In addition, the transformed citizens become viral, destructive and hungry. Why all these crazies have to feast in flesh is beyond me. You would also think that the loss of reason would cripple most to a sense of not being able to think in clever ways. Such as opening doors, pushing buttons, and finding new ways to get into locked buildings. The sick become extremely violent and can pass the infection on per fluid exchange…..um, like a scratch

Patricia Tallman, a talented actress in her own right plays the role of Lucy the radio station’s producer. KCBP is the #1 radio show due to the tenacity and voice of radio personality ego speak Logan Burnhardt. This night which includes 2 of his co-workers Gilbert Brickman and the in house techie Bert turns into much more than just a radio event. The rest of the staff has gone home for the evening as Lucy runs the evening crew.

Call ins help to paint the pictures of things not seen. If we were only left to that I probably would have waked away disappointed though they give us plenty of reality checks as well. It probably doesn’t help that the terrorist who started it all are now in the building. It also doesn’t help that they have a purpose for the radio personalities. I’m gonna say that while I enjoyed the film, I also can’t say there is is anything new here. In fact the new factor is a revelation that Bill Moseley could have a great career as a talk show radio voice if he ever gave up the day job.

There is enough horror here to horrify fans and Patricia Tallman kind of brings that certain MILF factor that’s hard to ignore. “Dead Air” does what several other films don’t …..which is manage to still entertain on a derivative premise. I’m gonna recommend it as a good film to see and maybe a portfolio piece for Bill. I’m up in arms as to if I prefer it over “Pontypool” though its a good case for debate. Bring on the viral madness!!!

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