Sunday, August 10, 2008

Movie Review: Dead Mary

Dead Mary

Starring: Dominique Swain, Marie-Josee Colburn, Steven McCarthy, Maggie Castle, Michael Majeski, Reagan Pasternak, and Jefferson Brown.

Directed by: Robert Wilson

Written by: Peter Sheldrick and Christopher Warre Smets

Production Companies: 235 Films and Archetype Films

Release Date: Feb. 20, 2007

Friends head to a cabin to reunite when horrible things start to happen. Sound familiar? Of course it does. But one thing true aficianados of the horror genre know is that just because it's been done before doesn't mean it can't be done again.

Kim and Matt have just broken up, but head for the weekend getaway so as to not ruin it for their friends, Dash and Amber, Baker and new girlfriend Lily, and Eve. But, as we all know, that doesn't happen, and during a tense moment find themselves challenging each other to play Dead Mary where you go to the bathroom with just a candle, clothes your eyes, and say her name three times...

Dead Mary

Dead Mary

Dead Mary

Then she appears.

This time, though, she doesn't.

Soon, however, Matt gets killed...but he returns from the dead as a maniacal zombie tormenting his old friends. Soon fear and paranoia overwhelms the survivors as they decide what to do and who they can trust.

One of the things that Dead Mary does well is play up the paranoia. Dead Mary doesn't rise up out of the lake and start slashering the teens, as originally planned. She possesses one of them, and as the others die they become malevolent, undead creatures spouting secrets that would destroy friendships. You begin to question who is possessed and they do a good job making you uncertain.

It's not a very scary movie, which I think they could have tried a little harder to do. Not many jumps. But plenty of intrigue and tension.

It also didn't feel the need to explain everything. That has the benefit of giving us a lot to consider about what happened. What happened to Ted, the friend whose cabin they are staying in? He never shows up. It's stated that it's like him to get the dates mixed up...but what if something more diabolical happened? Why wasn't there anyone at the gas station to which Matt walked? Why aren't there signs of other campers? Is this a simple case of a Dead Mary game going wrong? Or was the game a coincidence and things would have gone horribly wrong anyway?

The unanswered questions do have a problem though. The answers could mean it was just a poorly scripted movie with plot holes and dangling threads.

The acting was pretty good for a straight-to-video movie. Dominique Swain pulls off a decent lead heroine and Jefferson Brown as her ex-boyfriend Matt does a good job as an undead zombie. Reagan Pasternak and Michael Majeski (Amber and Dash) probably put in the best performances. Steven McCarthy and Maggie Castle (Baker and Lily) are probably the weak points in the acting, though doing a decent job. Marie-Josee Colburn wrestles with Swain for dominance of the screen.

Don't expect anything but a decent horror movie here. If you expect too much, you'll be disappointed, but if you just want a fun horror film that you and your friends can discuss what was really going on, you'll walk away happy.

Where Are They Now?

Dominique Swain currently appears in Toxic, released on July 8, 2008. The lives of a nightclub owner, a crime boss, a stripper, a bartender, two hitmen, a prostitute and a psychic take a turn for the worse when they are trapped in an escaped mental patient's sinister path of madness and destruction. Swain's next horror film to be released sometime in 2008 will be Trance. Trance is described as "these eight kids go to a rave, they take drugs and the drugs have no discernible effect on the male population. It turns the females into raving psychotics who then turn on their boyfriends and start tearing them apart."

Marie-Josee Colburn has not acted in a movie since Dead Mary

Steven McCarthy hasn't appeared in another horror. He stars next in Eating Buccaneers, a comedy where four self-absorbed advertising executives and one officious client crash-land their private charter plane into the north woods. They survive the crash, but can they survive each other.

Maggie Castle's next horror flick was the outrageous horror-comedy The Mad. She doesn't have another film in the works. Her next film release will be the sci-fi romance titles The Time Traveler's Wife about a Chicago librarian with a gene that causes him to involuntarily time travel, and the complications it creates for his marriage. It will be released December 25, 2008.

Michael Majeski's most recent film was The Last Hit Man starring Joe Mantegna. After he botches a hit, an aging assassin (Joe Mantegna) discovers that he's dying and decides to hide the truth from his daughter, who's also his business partner and getaway driver. When a younger hit man is sent to clean up the mess, he ends up impacting their lives in more ways than initially intended.

Reagan Pasternak can currently be seen in Inconceivable, a satirical drama about the test-tube baby industry.

Jefferson Brown will appear with Corey Haim and Vivica A. Fox in Shark City about two best friends in their early 30's living in New York city looking for love in all the wrong places. One of them finds his Dream Girl, who just happens to be the daughter of the biggest Mobster in town and the other friend swindles her Mob boss Dad out of a Million bucks.

Robert Wilson has not directed anything since Dead Mary.

Dead Mary is Peter Sheldrick's only writing credit.

Christopher Warre Smets followed Dead Mary with the previously mentioned The Mad and The Last Hit Man. His next release will be the straight to video sci-fi action movie Cyborg Soldier to be released October 8, 2008. It centers on a lonely U.S. border patrol agent, played by (Tiffani Thiessen), who captures a genetically engineered super-soldier, played by (Rich Franklin). It begins as the soldiers creator, played by (Bruce Greenwood), attempts to hunt them down.


kelloggs said...

I really liked this movie up until the ending, or lack there of. The possession I really didn't expect, and I thought it was damn creepy. and the acting was surprisingly good like you said. I was overall disappointed though, because I felt like it had alot of potential, and then just sort of ended.

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