Deadscapes II Movie Review
Written by Milos Jovanovic
Written and directed by Kristofer Velasquez
2007, 35 minutes, Not Rated
Dave Epley as Carl
Sarah Coe as Lisa
Carl looks the ordinary guy next door. 'Cept, he ain't — he is a ruthless serial killer, who has a particular penchant for dismembering his victims after he kills them. After dropping by at a random house and slashing a loving teenage couple, he starts working further on his "portfolio". Little does he know that the events will soon take an odd turn.
Meanwhile, Lisa, sister of Mandy, the female half of the above-mentioned couple, is on her way from work. She sends her no-good, slacker boyfriend Colin to check up on Mandy and her guy, but he winds up getting hacked. Soon, Lisa suspects something is wrong and eventually confronts Carl about the situation. And if this all wasn't bad enough, it seems that the dead are coming back to life as well, as Carl found out firsthand. The drama unfolds further, as Carl and Lisa are now stuck in a seemingly unwinnable situation, with each other and the living dead an evenly threatening prospect.
Deadscapes: Broken Road was the first in a series of short films by Kristofer Velasquez, and I found it an interesting little short which deviated from the rest of the litter by ignoring gore for the character development. Kristofer is now back with Deadscapes II, and while his technical acumen visibly improved, the storyline and the film itself, sadly enough, did not grow in the same direction.
If Broken Road was clearly a rookie effort, Deadscapes II looks much more polished in its technicalities. Velasquez opts for full frame here, and serves us a good number of carefully composed frames, spiced with a few simple, but good-looking tracking shots. There was nothing wrong with the editing in the first part, and this trend continues, while lighting, which hampered Broken Road in the outdoors scenes, seemingly also improved.
Still, the progress marge of this franchise proves limited. The basic idea, in which Velasquez, in best Romero tradition, pushes forth the human issue despite the raging zombies out there, is decent enough. The first half of this picture is solid, right up until Sarah makes her grand entry and mingles with Carl. After that point, though, the storyline gets too talky for its own good, and ends on a predictable (if interesting) note. Some shoddy scriptwriting also works against the overall quality towards the ending, especially the lengthy monologue by Carl and its reprise later on.
The lead roles belong to Dave Epley and Sarah Coe, and two of them produce a mixed effort. Despite some cliche-tastic lines, Epley is likable as Carl, the friendly neighbourhood killer. Coe is an inferior actress in comparison, so her parts leave a lesser impression. Neither of the characters ring true, though, so it's difficult to associate with either Carl or Lisa. Some of Carl's rationale is especially suspect (although you could describe this as just lunatic behaviour, but still).
Credit goes to Velasquez for trying to mash up Silence of the Lambs and Dawn of the Dead, but this time, it doesn't quite work. Despite the seemingly original idea, the whole project feels a bit stale. Maybe it's just the whole zombie thing getting repetitive. Broken Road received two-and-a-half stars — this one will be treated with the same, as there were both steps forwards and backwards to be witnessed.
Audio, video and special features will not be graded as this is a screener.