Dead Cert DVD Review
Written by Daniel Benson
DVD released by Momentum Pictures
Written by Ben Shillito and Steve Lawson
Directed by Steve Lawson
2010, Region 2, 90 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on September 27th, 2010
Craig Fairbrass as Freddy Frankham
Janet Montgomery as Giselle
Dexter Fletcher as Eddie Christian
Danny Midwinter as Dennis Christian
Perry Benson as Magoo
Billy Murray as Dante Livenko
Steven Berkoff as Kenneth Mason
Jason Flemyng as Chelsea Steve
Danny Dyer as Roger Kipling
Another day, another vampire movie hits the review pile. Say what you want about Twilight (and I do, all bad) but it’s certainly made the nocturnal blood suckers en vogue in genre cinema. Cockney gangsters facing off against Romanian vamps isn’t something I’d expect to see as the antithesis of sparkly pretty-boys, but that’s exactly what’s on offer with Steve Lawson’s Dead Cert.
Set in the grimy criminal underworld of London, it follows the misfortunes of bad-boy turned club-owner Freddy 'Dead Cert' Frankham (Craig Fairbrass). He’s left behind a life of violent crime and turned legitimate with the opening of his lapdancing club, Paradise. Unbeknown to Freddy, the club stands on the site of a black church, established by a Romanian vampire known as The Wolf. In everyday form The Wolf is Eastern European businessman, Dante Livenko, who at first offers to buy the club. When Freddy refuses, Livenko offers a challenge; his bare-knuckle fighter against Freddy’s. If Dante comes out on top, he gets the club. If not, he stumps up two million as the loser’s penance.
As expected, there’s a bit of a twist to the fight, being vampire versus human, and Freddy ends up losing his club to The Wolf. Big mistake. You don’t cross an East End hardman and expect him to take it lying down. In true gangster fashion Freddy rallies his troops, gets them tooled up and prepares to take back what’s rightfully his.
What’s great about Dead Cert is the way it works on two levels. While cockney gangster and vampire aren’t necessarily two well-matched genre bedfellows, this film is both a great underworld crime thriller and an enjoyable action horror rolled into one. In fact, it’s almost like two distinct movies joined together. For the first act it’s exactly what you’d expect from a film about cockney geezers setting up a nightclub, and there’s not a vampire mentioned. Without the sleeve notes or cover art you wouldn’t necessarily think that it would turn into the blood-soaked melee of vampire killing that takes place in the second act.
Lawson has assembled a cast of British actors at the top of their game. While many are not high-profile in the movie world, they have developed a respectable pedigree in serious television drama. Fairbrass is excellent as the lead and has a convincing screen presence, easily able to skip between tough-nut and sensitive husband as the role requires. Backing him up are a host of British talent including Perry Benson (Mum and Dad), and Dexter Fletcher (Kick Ass). The always excellent Steven Berkoff brings a touch of tradition to the proceedings as the film’s naysayer (the one who warns of impending doom that no-one listens to until it’s too late) Kenneth Mason, who crossed paths with The Wolf and is out for revenge.
Dead Cert hasn’t fallen into the trap that vampires have to be sexy or martial arts experts in order to entertain the audience. Granted, some of the women are pretty hot, but overall the clan that takes over the club are a bunch of bastards. Problem is, they picked a bigger bunch of bastards to screw over and, instead of high kicks and flashing silver swords, they find themselves on the receiving end of head-butts and knuckle dusters.
It’s always nice to watch a film that you expect so little of, yet be rewarded by a good 90 minutes of escapist entertainment. It won’t go down as a horror classic but if you have the desire for a simple story told well by a movie that delivers maximum entertainment, it’s a dead cert to fill that hole.
Video & Audio:
Dead Cert is presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with DD 2.0 Audio. No issues with either, although a 5.1 track would have been nice.
There's a half-hour Making Of documentary on the disc which is a bit of a fluff piece. Mostly the cast and director enthusing about how fantastic the other is, but it still gives a reasonable glimpse behind the scenes. There's also an audio commentary featuring stars Craig Fairbrass, Jonathan Sothcott, Billy Murray, Lisa Mcallister, as well as a collection of trailers for other Momentum releases and one for Dead Cert.
Click cover to purchase.
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