In two consecutive nights I saw two movies that featured instances When Actors Direct. Make sure you say When Actors Direct in a deep ominous voice to get the full effect. The first one was this movie ‘Dead Air’ directed by long time L.A. Law and current B-movie actor Corbin Bernsen and I followed that up with Thomas Jane directing himself in the movie ‘Dark Country’. I am of the opinion that Thomas Jane is a more talented actor than Corbin Bernsen. Considerably actually. However after watching these two low budget horror movies I am also of the opinion that Corbin Bernsen is the more talented film director. Considerably.
I believe the city is New Orleans because it did look like this sporting event was taking place at the Superdome even though I don’t think the city or origin of this film was ever mentioned. Anyway some terrorist have gone and done what terrorist do, that being terrorize and have released a toxin into the air ducts of this sporting event facility. What exactly does this toxin do?
More on that in a bit but first we must meet Logan the radio Shock Jock played by Bill Mosley. Logan lords over the airwaves insulting his callers on numerous subjects as shock jocks tend to do and does his radio thing along with his in studio co-host Gil (David Moscow), Burt (Joshua Freeman) who runs the boards and the shows producer and Logan’s ex-wife Lucy (Patricia Tallman). Mind you this has absolutely nothing to do with anything but the IMDB list Ms. Tallman as being born in 1957 and assuming this to be true, because the IMDB is infallible, you will be hard pressed to find a hotter 53 year old woman than Patricia Tallman.
Back on point, during this night’s particular show Logan starts getting a few odd phone calls. Then there are the news stories which details what looks to be a riot outside the studio. Stranger still is that these rioters have blood coming from their eye sockets and
seem to be reanimating themselves. Not cool. So the city is overrun by blood thirsty super violent zombies but wait, it gets worse. The terrorist that set this thing in motion (Navid Neghaban) is in the building and is forcing Logan to say all kinds of crazy stuff over the air to stoke the fires of hatred since Logan is apparently the only on-air personality in the U.S.A. who refused to go to the Emergency Broadcast System.
To say the least our situation looks dire. Zombies are everywhere, some are even in the building and some used to be employees of the radio station. A decaying terrorist is holding folks at gun point and Logan has no idea how safe his child and current wife Gabbi (Lakshmi Manchu) are faring during this nationwide apocalyptic event. Mind you this has absolutely nothing to do with anything but Lakshmi Manchu…
Apparently I have to watch this movie called ‘Ponty Pool’ since the word is that this and ‘Dead Air’ are similar with ‘Ponty Pool’ being the better of the two and while I’ll make the effort to watch that movie with the quickness, ‘Dead Air’ at least doesn’t have to compete with that movie right now. The first… I don’t know… fifteen minutes or so of ‘Dead Air’ had me a little concerned because truth be told Logan and his radio show wasn’t all that engaging and there was this odd sequence of us listening to Logan’s show and then watching these terrorist limp through the city which just wasn’t working. Rent a car you damn terrorist. This suspect series of scenes was followed by a very effective series of scenes in which our radio employees were being spoon fed info from their listeners, mated to what they were watching on their television which was a clever way of introducing to us the situation that was going on as it unfolded. The mayhem and chaos going on outside combined with the little bit of mayhem that had found its way into the building is when this movie was at its best, and Bernsen the director was able to generate some legitimate tension and a nice flow with these scenes. Plus some of the listeners calling in to describe the horror before getting ripped to shreds was a cheap but effective way of building up the tension element.
Unfortunately the zombies were pretty lame. Because of the lackluster zombies and the little time screen they got, I don’t know if this qualifies to be legitimate zombie movie, plus the zombies don’t eat anybody. Come now, what kind of self respecting zombie just scratches a bitch? Not any zombie I’d want hang around with that’s for sure. Then there was the political proselytizing that this movie probably could’ve done without with our terrorist talking nonsense out of both sides of his mouth sounding more like a crazy conspiracy theorist than a crazy terrorist. Plus the overall look of the movie had a bit of a ‘shot on video’ sheen to it which didn’t help give this film a polished or professional look. I could also mention those stock basketball game scene cutaways that the Xavier player hit the same jumper from that same spot like six times in a row. I’m just saying. Might have wanted to track down a few more stock basketball shots.
Nonetheless I was entertained by ‘Dead Air’ despite its flaws as I liked the way it told its story and I like the semi ‘Assault on Precinct 13’ setup it has going on. Sure the zombies kind of sucked, except for Joshua Freeman’s zombie who was total badass, and the politics were iffy but the performances were good, especially from Bill Mosley. If he’s interested Corbin Bernsen might want to stay out of these gawdawful B-movies I’ve seen him in recently, and I’m talking to you ‘Vipers’, and direct a few more.