Dead List was written by Holden Andrews (Scary Nights), Ivan Asen (Ender’s Game), and Victor Mathieu (The Monster Project), with the writing team also directing segments for the film. As a big fan of horror anthologies, I was optimistic after seeing the trailer for Dead List. I don’t have a problem with films with nonlinear storylines, but Dead List leaves you completely in the dark about what is going on until about halfway through the movie.
Dead List is about an actor named Cal (Deane Sullivan) who becomes the owner of a mysterious book when it lands on his car out of nowhere while he’s driving. Cal’s roommate is into the occult and convinces him that the book holds dark powers. Cal has an audition for a role in a Martin Scorsese film and is competing with five other actors. In an attempt to ensure that he doesn’t have any competition for the role, Cal puts the names of the other actors in the book, marking each one of them for death which makes the plot seem a lot like Death Note, minus any cool creatures like Ryuk. Each segment of the film reveals the fate of each actor vying for the role. Unfortunately, Cal also discovers his own bleak destiny when he realizes there may be a price to pay for using the book.
I’m guessing that the filmmakers were trying to be relevant with the first segment, but the story is in such poor taste that it caused me to cringe internally for all the wrong reasons. As for the remaining four segments, some are more entertaining than others and I thought Kush’s story was the scariest and had the best special effects. The film jumps back and forth between segments and explaining what the heck is going on and is a bit hard to follow at times due to faulty editing, as well as holes in the storyline. There are a couple of standouts, but most of the performances are average, which I blame that on the lackluster story.
Overall, I was dissatisfied with Dead List, but you can judge this horror anthology for yourself when it lands on VOD from High Octane Pictures on May 1st. You can follow High Octane Pictures on Twitter for more updates.
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