Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Note to self: When looking for a spot to build my plush palatial backwoods shack, please check to make sure there are no ancient Indian burial grounds anywhere near it. But when I think about it, and I’m not trying to cause any trouble here, but considering the history of the Native American and his treatment in these here United States back in the day, I’m guessing that there’s a damn good chance that every single one of us probably lives over the mystical corpse of some poor dead Native American. Of course ‘Poltergeist’ probably slammed the door shut on the whole ‘Sacred Indian Burial Ground’ theme and to the benefit of this movie ‘Dead and Gone’ it’s only briefly mentioned and not a major plot thread in the least, but dead Indians, at least in movies, do seem to be some angry ass sumbitches.

‘Dead and Gone’ opens forty years ago in said shack with some backwoods country dude, though he sounds more like a Cornell University Physics Professor, about to put some hot lead in his wife for laying with another man. He does just that, kills the kids and sucks on a bullet himself but you can rest assured that he’s not gonna stay dead forever. At least not in the classic sense of ‘dead’.

Now in the present day allow me to introduce you to my man with the extremely masculine name of Jack Wade (Quentin Jones), a failed actor artist type who in the dead of night has whisked away his comatose failed actress wife Frankie (Katherine Bates) into this out of the way shack for a number of reasons, the primary of those reasons being that he needs her money and the legal powers that be don’t want to give him any. Jack isn’t in this joint for a very long time when the weirdness starts happening, such as our long dead Cornell University professor in dirty overalls welcoming him to the neighborhood, complete with a blowed out rear skull, and his dead wife and dead daughter staring at him from across the field. Somebody’s who is very much alive who has made Jack’s acquaintance is the local police constable Kate Edison (Gillian Shure),

who is pretty damn hot in a trashy can’t take home to meet mom kind of way. Apparently not too many sexy British talking dudes make their away around that part of town because Constable Edison is liking what she’s seeing, despite the comatose wife hooked up to the respirator in the next room.

What Constable Edison should have known is that Crazy always trumps Sexy as Jack is slowly losing his grip on reality as his comatose wife frequently appears out of nowhere blowing smoke in Jack’s face and F’n with his head, all the while slowly decaying into zombified flesh. Soon this apparition is telling Jack to do all kinds of bad things and Jack, not being the mentally toughest dude around, can only hang his head and comply. Soon the ghostly wife advises Jack to kill our trashy but sexy police constable which Jack is kind of resistant to do because her poo is so outstanding, but Crazy usually wins in these situations leaving our young heroine on the run in the backwoods while being chased by one crazy ass fake British accent having lunatic with an axe. Good luck with that Kate.

As ‘Dead and Gone’ begins, we wait on pins and needles as anyone who has seen a Lionsgate DVD horror movie knows full well that the qualifications they require to distribute a film are pretty damned low. So low in fact that I’m curious why every single citizen of the earth hasn’t at least tried to submit a film to these guys for distribution. However, despite a bit of a rocky start, I found myself strangely entertained by ‘Dead and Gone’ as director Yossi Sasson made the most of what he had and crafted a fairly decent, if not tried and true, horror yarn. In the absence of big budget special horror effects the filmmakers here tried their best to create an unsettling atmosphere with mood, lighting and some post production tricks and for the most part it was a very effective use of available resources.

Performance wise Katherine Bates as the wife in the variable coma was quite exceptional as the trash talking Frankie and seemed to be having the most fun with her zombiriffic role. I gotta assume the Ms. Bates was doing somebody a favor by taking this part since she’s been on like a twenty year acting hiatus since showing up in an episode of ‘Jake and the Fat Man’. Quinton Jones does an adequate job as Jack Wade considering he is pretty much saddled with carrying the movie though his Crazy is a bit subdued.

Narrative-wise ‘Dead and Gone’ doesn’t possess the most original or scintillating plot that you are going to see as these stories have been done quite a few times before, but since this is the case for most movies its up to the filmmakers to do the best they can to separate their story from the myriad of those that have come before them and make it as much as their own as they can, and in this respect team ‘Dead and Gone’ didn’t do such a bad job in making that happen.

‘Dead and Gone’ isn’t the be all to end all, but it is an efficient little horror movie with a few decent chills tossed into the mix. Not too shabby at all.

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