Dead End Movie Review
Written by ZigZag
A Sagittaire Films/Captains Movies Production
Written and Directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa
2003, 85 minutes, Not Rated
Premiered on September 26th, 2003
Ray Wise as Frank Harrington
Lin Shaye as Laura Harrington
Mick Cain as Richard
Alexandra Holden as Marion
Billy Asher as Brad Miller
Amber Smith as the Lady in White
It’s Christmas Eve and the Harringtons are making the long drive out to grandma’s house. Frank and Laura sit up front while their kids, Richard and Marion, squeeze in the back with Marion’s boyfriend, Brad. Everything is as normal until Frank breaks up the routine with a shortcut, but he starts to doze off behind the wheel resulting in a near collision. Although shaken up, everyone seems fine and the trip resumes, but now they begin their drive into the mystic.
They spot an injured woman beside the road and give her a ride back to a rest-stop cabin they have just passed. Marion volunteers to walk back, in order to make room for the new passenger and to get some fresh air. As the family searches the cabin for a phone, Brad remains in the car to look after the woman. He confides that he plans to ask Marion to marry him. Meanwhile, as Marion slowly walks to the cabin she sneaks a cigarette and practices how best to break-up with Brad. She is interrupted by a passing black car that appears to have her boyfriend trapped in the back and Marion runs to her family for help. They rush back to the car to find that both Brad and the woman are absent and they race after the mystery car into the night.
There is a very distinct pattern that marks these characters and the events that unfold during the night. Secrets are revealed throughout while a palpable rush of urgency smothers the isolated road on which they are trapped. Things continue to spiral out-of-control and the family is pushed to their limits, both physically and mentally as they try to reach safety.
Dead End tells an extremely simple story in a relatively complex way. The script tips its hand within the first 5-minutes, but the obligatory surprise ending becomes secondary to the twists of the road along the way. The plot is more about the secrets revealed that define the characters and draw the audience in to share their frustration of being trapped in this nightmare situation.
In order for this tale to successfully play out, a rock-solid cast is mandatory and the actors on hand really deliver. Ray Wise (Twin Peaks) is fantastic as the father trying to hold his family safe, and Lin Shaye (Critters) delivers her strongest performance yet as the emotionally fragile wife struggling to keep it together. There is a believable sibling rivalry between Alexandra Holden (Dark Reel) and Mick Cain (The Contract), a challenge considering the polar opposite nature of the characters. Amber Smith (Tell Me No Lies) brings the creep-factor with a limited amount of dialogue, but presenting a character both attractive and dangerous
Filmmakers Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa deliver a horror film thick with atmosphere and rich with tension. This is a strong character piece that draws out the claustrophobic nature of the situation. While genre fans will be quick to figure out the underlying theme, the classic Twilight Zone approach to the material will satisfy most viewers, despite the heavy-handed delivery of the final twist.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded.
Day nine of ZigZag's "12 Days of Christmas".
Day 2: To All a Good Night
Day 3: Silent Night, Deadly Night 2
Day 4: Jaws: The Revenge
Day 5: Christmas Evil
Day 7: Santa Claws
Day 9: Elves
Day 10: Dead End
Day 11: Santa's Slay
Day 12: Black Christmas (1974)