I always put these random movies in my queue after reading the description once and thinking, "Meh, this sounds interesting. I'll save it and watch it later." Then I keep skipping it over when I'm looking for a movie to watch because I'm so sure that it's not going to be as good as I hope. Well, today I finally decided to give Dead End a chance. And holy guacamole, it seriously wasn't that bad. I really liked it.
The plot maze: A family driving to grandmother's house for Christmas encounter a strange woman on an isolated road when dad decides to take a shortcut. But that's just the beginning of their problems as the road they are on seemingly goes on forever and a doomsday black car starts to mean death for all of them.
There are many things about this movie that make it similar to other movies you've probably already seen, but then there are a few things that really set it apart from those other movies at the same time. The actors are quite fantastic in their roles and there are episodes of dark humor that make parts of this movie more enjoyable than they probably should be.
The film is both character driven and plot driven, but while you're wrapping your head around the crazy plot, you're also enjoying the craziness of this family. First there's Frank, the father, who is not comfortable going to his wife's, Laura, mother's for Christmas and who gets stuck driving on this crappy road for most of the movie. The kids are Marion and Richard. Richard is a hard-rock-listening-to, pot-smoking teenager with a heart of gold. Marion is an aspiring psychiatrist or psychologist traveling with her possibly gay boyfriend, Brad. Brad's not really that popular with anybody so thank goodness he dies pretty quick.
As for the gore, there's really not much to talk about here at all. And for this movie, that works. Okay, I was a little disappointed at not being able to see the supposedly mutilated body of Brad, the first victim, but the reaction from the actors and Brad's bloody ear pretty much tell you all you need to know. There's also an interesting moment where the Lady in White bites off Richard's lip but nothing else aside from that.
Oh wait, no, I forgot! Let's just say that rubbing your own brain through a bullet wound is NOT COOL. And I leave it at that.
|Can you even see this picture? It's really dark, yeah?|
Maybe viewers can catch on to the "twist" ending before it is revealed but there are a few theories to think about. A lot of the synopses I read about the movie make it seem more about the patriarch of the family, Frank, but by the end, I'm thinking maybe the movie is about Marion. Spoilers abound here, as usual, so brace yourself. So we find out that the whole family actually died in the car when the father falls asleep at the wheel and almost hits another car - all except Marion. Turns out they actually DID hit the car and the rest of the movie is a dream or a vision or some other kind of supernatural shit. I haven't actually seen Carnival of Souls yet (I KNOW, I KNOW, it's in my queue and I'll get to it soon) but I know the story and I'm thinking there are definite references or inspirations from that here.
Dead End is a fantastic reminder of how a simple story and well paced story with fun characters can make for a most enjoyable horror movie. See it!