Dead & Breakfast DVD Review
Written by Steve Pattee
DVD released by Anchor Bay
Written and directed by Matthew Leutwyler
2004, Region 1 (NTSC), 88 minutes, Unrated
DVD released on September 6th, 2005
Ever Carradine as Sara
Brent David Fraser as The Drifter
Bianca Lawson as Kate
David Carradine as Mr. Wise
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Sheriff
Erik Palladino as David
Oz Perkins as Johnny
Gina Philips as Melody
Jeremy Sisto as Christian
Diedrich Bader as Chef Henri
Portia de Rossi as Kelly
Vincent Ventresca as Doc Riley
Mark Kelly as Enus
Miranda Bailey as Lisa Belmont
En route to a wedding, five friends realize they have missed their turn.
Thirty miles back.
Completely lost — well maybe not completely, as there was only one lame attempt to look at a map — they reluctantly decide to call it a night in the town of Lovelock. Lovelock: Where the men are men and the sheep are scared.
Pulling into the town’s gas station—where the attendant is jamming with his band — they find their luck has changed. There happens to be a bed & breakfast in town that should have rooms available.
Their luck seems to follow them to the b&b as not only are there rooms available, the proprietor, Mr. Wise (David Carradine – Kill Bill), cuts them a deal: the low-low rate of $50 each for the night.
That’s where the luck ends.
Sometime during the night, Mr. Wise has a heart attack and the chef, Henri (Diedrich Bader – Office Space, TV’s “The Drew Carey Show”), an annoying Frenchman, is brutally slaughtered.
Since the friends are outsiders, they are the logical suspects. The deputy, under orders from the sheriff, confiscates the keys to their RV so they don’t leave town until he finishes the investigation.
Fortunately for the young group, shortly after they arrive in town to be questioned by the sheriff, they find that a mysterious drifter (Brent David Fraser) has been picked up and put in the local jail cell as the prime suspect. It’s a well known fact if something questionable happens in a small town, the mysterious drifter becomes suspect above all others. And, like most drifters, he knows more than he’s telling. He does manage to give Sara (Ever Carradine – Bubble Boy) a warning — do not break the seal of Mr. Wise’s “lucky box,” something Sara had admired the previous night.
Now, with a town turning to zombies, it’s turning into one hell of a hoe-down.
This movie kicks ass.
No. Scratch that.
This movie doesn’t just kick your ass like the good old fashioned “wrecked the family car joy-riding with your friends” beating your parents gave you. This movie whips you like your alcoholic stepfather did when he caught you drinking from his stash. It doesn’t let up.
I should stop the review here. I could stop the review here. Telling you, dear reader, that this movie kicks ass should be enough. It’s enough for me. But, alas, I realize you are wondering why it kicks ass — and it is my job to tell you.
The story is solid, the gore is great, the acting is top-notch and the directing is strong. The movie fires on all cylinders. I felt every time I was looking one way expecting one thing to happen, I would get punched in the head from the other side. Trying to predict who was going to die next — and how — was a wasted effort. You can guess all you want, but in the end, nobody lives forever. Like Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” Breakfast starts off mellow, then turns into an all-out war after the first bodies are found.
Generally the downfall of many lower budgeted movies, acting is top-notch in Dead & Breakfast, from the main to supporting characters. Every player does a great job and there is not one wooden actor in the movie. While up-and-comers Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn, May) and Gina Phillips (Jeepers Creepers) maybe the most recognizable faces — outside of David Carradine and Diedrich Bader — they neither out-act or are out-acted. Surprisingly, one of the lesser known actors, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as the sheriff), steals every scene he’s in — his charisma, combined with his character, demands you watch and listen for whatever bone-headed statement is going to come out of his mouth next. Also, while most of his dialogue is sung, Zach Selwyn should be mentioned because he is terrific as the singing “narrator.” His part in the film is novel, amusing and strangely fitting. Director Matthew Leutwyler not only had a great cast, he did a great job, well, directing them in such a way no one got left behind.
Part of the reason the actors did so well is the terrific script Leutwyler crafted from a story by him and Billy Burke. Considering the movie takes place in a stereotypical town with back-woods locals, characters have their own quirks and oddities, so they aren’t all a cookie-cutter of each other. Granted, all of the stereotypical characters are covered in the movie, but considering it doesn’t take itself too seriously and the dialogue makes you laugh on a regular basis, that is very easily overlooked.
The special effects in Breakfast, quite simply, rocked. With more blood flung than a busy day at the Perdue plant, Breakfast is a big ice cream sundae for gore-hounds. The special effects are a splatter lover’s blood-soaked wet dream. Other reviews have compared it to Evil Dead 2, Dead-Alive and From Dusk ‘till Dawn, but — while the comparisons are sound — Breakfast is its own movie. While there are nods to Carrie, Demon Knight, "Thriller" — yes, Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" — and the aforementioned movies, Leutwyler has made his own movie and the nods are just that, nods.
A horror movie — in the traditional “scary” sense — this is not. This is a balls-out, tongue-in-cheek, in-your-face blood-drenched comedy in the blackest sense. I would call it a rollercoaster ride, but it’s more of a high-speed drive on Pacific Coast Highway in a ’69 Camaro. And you’re not quite sure if the brakes work.
Video and Audio:
Anchor Bay did a fantastic job cleaning up this disc, as its 1.85:1 anamorphic presentation is night and day compared with the screener I received last year. It's a crisp picture, and blacks are solid. There is an occasional speck, but this can most likely be attributed to the source.
Breakfast's rockabilly soundtrack, gunshots and stabbings galore sound great in the offered Dolby 5.1 surround track. The rears are used appropriately and dialogue is always loud and clear.
Dolby 2.0 is also offered.
Now here is where Anchor Bay notoriously shines: The special features.
Two commentaries are offered: The first consists of writer/director Matt Leutwyler, special effects supervisor Michael Mosher, and actors Eric Palladino and Zack Selwyn. The second consists of Leutwyler, Palladino and actors Ever Carradine, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Oz Perkins. Both commentaries are enjoyable and both offer not only interesting tidbits, but some comedic moments.
There are three minutes of bloopers that, like most blooper reels, are hit and miss.
Just under 10 minutes of deleted and extended scenes are offered, but they must be played all at once, as they are not broken up. Worth at least one look, but it's easy to see why the scenes were cut, with the exception of the alternate ending credits. It's too bad Anchor Bay decided against using those credits, as they are a little more personal.
There are two very short songs that you should be listened to if you dug the soundtrack.
And wrapping it up are trailers for The Man With the Screaming Brain, All Souls Day, It Waits and Dead & Breakfast, and a photo gallery consisting of 11 photos.
Dead & Breakfast takes chances with the blood and guts not seen in years. And, not only does it manage to make you squirm a little with the carnage, it also manages to be a well-written and well-acted movie, showing there is more to it than just mayhem. If you are a fan of any of the films mentioned in this review, pick this up, as you won't be disappointed.
Dead & Breakfast gives this reviewer hope for the horror scene.