Dead All Night Movie Review
Written by Michel Sabourin
Written and directed by Christopher Giroux
2013, 28 minutes, Not Rated
Ry Barrett as Gavin Green
Robert Nolan as Officer #1
Breanne TeBoekhorst as Officer #2
I don't know if it's coincidental or anecdotal evidence, but it seems to me that lately all the best short films have been coming out of Canada. Dead All Night is no exception. In the grand tradition of the '80s anti-hero, Dead All Night is the story of a former soldier, currently enjoying prison hospitality, who has been ordered to travel into a lawless land and retrieve a stolen microchip that endangers the free lands.
Yes, you've seen this story before, and probably better, but this spirited short handles its retread material well. It's a low-budget love song to a bygone era of filmmaking. It's hokey and doesn't have the greatest fight choreography (in some scenes it almost looks as though the people fighting are in separate rooms), but it has the spirit, a great soundtrack, and a few standout performances to bring you along and keep you interested until the end. One of the better performances comes from Robert Nolan, recently seen in another great short, Familiar. He plays a grizzled police vet in a perfectly understated and believably world weary way. It's a real highlight performance. The lead, Ry Barrett, does a decent job of channeling a Snake Plissken vibe and delivers the typical one liners and macho bullshit dialog with willing aplomb and even dignity. It's not exactly tour de force, but it's better than it probably deserves to be.
The underlying plot is merely set decoration for fight sequences which fail to deliver on the inherent hyped setups. Much ado is made of several of the combatants our hero is supposed to face, but they seem fairly easily dispatched. Yes, I know it's a short film and brevity dictates action in this case, but I would have rather seen several small crowd fights leading up to one "boss level" bad guy in an extended fight scene than this. Even the main baddie, "The Veteran" (who is eerily reminiscent of Bison from Street Fighter), is hardly given a proper takedown. In this, I am sadly reminded of Commando where a pudgy, evil Freddie Mercury is so sadly outclassed by cookie cutter Schwarzenneger that it brings down the final product.
Being a short film, a lot of these petty issues are more easily ignored and forgiven. Budgets and all that. But there are enough good factors to make this an enjoyable watch and make me want to see what director Christopher Giroux will do next. If this makes a film festival near you, make sure to add it to your viewing schedule.
Dead All Night will be shown at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival on December 1st, 2013. Click here for tickets.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.