Dead in France Movie Review
Directed by Kris McManus
Written by Brian A Levine & Kris McManus
2012, 88 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on August 26, 2013
Celia Muir as Lisa
Darren Bransford as Denny
Lee Cheney as Simon
Kate Loustau as Clancy
Brian A. Levine as Charles
James Privett as Raymond
The powers that be here at HorrorTalk apparently wanted me to step out of my usual comfort zone of the overly gory and ridiculous and fixate my eyeballs on Dead in France, a British dark comedy written and directed by Kris McManus. Just because there were no ghosts or goblins, decapitations or rivers of infant blood flowing from the cracks of every surface in this film doesn't mean it isn't enjoyable. I'll get to the rest of that in just a bit.
Charles is a hit man who has had enough of a life of contract killing and would love nothing more than to call it quits. His dream of sailing into the sunset on a yacht with a beautiful woman are just within his grasp but there's just a catch: he has literally no experience with either. He quickly sets his sights on his newly hired (and really freaking hot) cleaning lady as the one he will sweep off their feet and live happily ever after. But to his dismay, her dimwitted boyfriend and friends steal two million quid from the trunk of his car, leaving him in an awkward position with his client. Add the dilemma of Charles' rival marking him for death after hearing about his desire to leave the business and you have the makings of one very bad day for our lead character. Awkward social interactions and killing ensues as a socially distraught hit man tries to find himself and live the life he never had the chance to.
Dead in France has a lot going for it for a low budget dark comedy. A plot that is in no way believable but nonetheless fun and unique, a cast of quirky characters that slowly grow an attachment to, funny dialogue and more than a few memorable scenes that will have you awkwardly smiling and cracking up at what the hell just happened. McManus does an awesome job capturing the location of the French Riviera, which is the setting of Dead in France and where my broke ass will probably never be able to afford to visit. While the film was quick to start and finish, leaving little loose ends, I found it more enjoyable than I thought I would. When a movie I'm about to watch gets hype as being compared to the styles Tarantino, there's a bar that is set. While I didn't see these said comparisons around every corner, witty writing and gorgeous camerawork kept me more than entertained from front to back.
Sure, Dead in France isn't absent of a few problems here and there. Scenes, while they are put together well visually, there is sometimes a choppy disconnect every now and then. Another being that nearly the entire film is shot in black and white. Where it isn't my place to rag on the director about his choice for this, it becomes a bit distracting and almost gimmicky to an extent. Being this takes place on the French coastlines, some color here and there wouldn't be a bad thing. This is still rather menial and does little to ruin the momentum of the film as a whole.
For lovers of dark comedy, heavy British accents and the mindless killing of more than one insignificant cast member, Dead in France will more than satisfy your appetite. While I'm used to watching people draw the demonic souls from the bodies of their friends and babysitters being slaughtered for their promiscuity, it was pleasant to take a quick break and laugh at a clever film that probably won't require group therapy to escape some of its imagery. I'll be looking forward to what McManus and writer Brian Levine can concoct next.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.
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