June 24, 2019

New Release Wall: The Dead Don’t Die/Hi-Death

Review Scores: 

The Dead Don't Die: 5/5

Hi-Death 1/5

Here are Russ's notes from Hi-Death, as mentioned in the episode: 

Opening shot of Romero’s star. Yeah, we get plenty of others — but the OPENING SHOT.

Titles looked amateur — budget or choice? And I love the music that sounds like just a 2-minute version of an old direct-to-VHS studio fanfare.

Zero budget in an endearing way. The acting is WOOF but little things like not having.a filter so the phone shows up properly onscreen feels properly guerrilla.

Cut from the opening scene of bright, musical, cheerful LA to the silent (for like 5 seconds, TOTALLY silent) train station at night felt jarring at first but was actually a great choice.  They hold the show JUST long enough so it feels like maybe your computer froze.

Diminishing returns when they did the same thing again from the nightclub to the alley. It feels like Chuck Palahniuk’s writing in Fight Club, where ehe found a couple of cool stylistic choices and just repeated them till they weren’t cool anymore.

The girl who is tripping in the first segment is actually great when she’s doing dialogue but her actual physical acting is really hit or miss.

This feels like a shot-on-shitty-o movie from the ‘80s and if it was shot in low resolution on VHS, it would probably look better. The HD doesn’t do many favors for effects like the Reaper.

The guy in “Night Drop” is the worst burglar ever. He takes off his mask AND takes the time to open the briefcase? Just steal the briefcase!

Why the surreptitious hand-off of the money/goods when they’re the ONLY ONESon the bleachers with no sporting event going on? That’s so much sketchier than just meeting anywhere else.

The “Switchblade Bandit” segment is full of cheap and lazy iMovie effects.

Rockoff doesn’t know how to smoke.

“Night Drop” was shot in a Family Video. The actors are pretty solid, especially by comparison to “Dealers of Death,” as are the filmmaking choices.

His hand trauma reminds me of the time I stabbed myself in the thumb with a pair of scissors while working at Blockbuster. I still have a scar and nerve damage to this day.

“Fantastic Flicks” is the fake name for the video store in spite of being able to clearly see Family Video logos in several shots.

Red DVD cases pretty much are always porn

The DVD from Night Drop is creepy on a David Lynch level and it really should not have been put right after the dreadful Night Drop.

All those copies of The Peanuts Movie on the new release wall pretty much dates this segment.

So it’s The Ring on steroids. Right.

“The only reason I’m seeing you for this audition is that my friend Michelle said that you were good” is a hell of a piece of expository dialogue.

The girl in the actress one (Fabiana Formica) is probably the best actress in the movie, which is fortunate. I’m not sure what that one has to do with the whole horror/supernatural thing though. And it feels incredibly indulgent.

She’s joined in that one by Julia Vally, who recently appeared in an episode of What They Do In The Shadows

Once the POV girl is lost, why not use her phone’s GPS? It’s obviously working.

Why is the painter rocking back and forth? And is that Gatorade in the water bottle supposed to be pee? It’s ORANGE.

The VFX people on this movie don’t really get how anything looks or works on the inside.

The devil guy talking over the guy’s shoulder in “The Muse” was actually not bad when he was bathed in shadow, or even when he was killing the hooker. But once you get clear shots of him in (relative) light it’s a mess.

The gratuitous mix of sex and violence feels the most like the ‘80s slasher movies the anthology is meant (I guess) to pay tribute to. The whole thing feels like a love letter to Creepshow and Tales From the Crypt, but done with 2% of the budget and 1% of the talent.

Creepy guy in the beanie has those weird sex backing his voice that sounds like they are doing the backwards talking thing from Twin Peaks, but without actually doing git. It’s weird. Also, this whole thing went from killing people in back rooms to a Cthulu ruling the world.

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