Dead Night

Rated: Not Rated | Running Time: 82 Minutes
From: Dark Sky Films
In Theaters and VOD/Digital: July 27, 2018
Get it via : iTunes

You know there is going to be trouble when a movie opens, set years ago in a vintage car, with a guy and a girl alone. One of them says something similar to, “Did you hear something?”

Why don’t these people just leave? Nope, the guy will try to be the hero, and things won’t go well for either of them.

Thus is the opening for “Dead Night.” Yup, the movie opens with the proverbial flashback to badness that will impact the folks of today.

As we get to those folks of today, enter the Pollack family. They are heading out on vacation to a cabin in the woods that supposedly has healing powers. Why? Because Dad, James (AJ Bowen), is dying. Mom, Casey (Brea Grant) seems kind of normal, and hey, why not bring Becky (Elise Luthman), the daughter’s friend, along with the rest of the family. She seems nothing like the outdoorsy type, so she will be perfect!

Alas, there is weirdness in them thar woods.

The weirdness begins with someone watching a TV in the woods, playing an episode of “Inside Crime,” a news show similar to the likes of “Dateline” or “20/20.” We see that this episode is about “Axe Mom,” who turns out to be Casey, and the film shifts between TV show clips, and what is happening in real life.

Suddenly there is a lot more going on in “Dead Night” as two women show up in the woods with some kind of agenda, dad finds a woman’s body, Leslie Bison (Barbara Crampton), in the woods, and Leslie, after being resuscitated, seems perfectly fine physically, but mentally she is a weirdo.

Weirdo, sure, but let’s add even more weirdness as people are stabbed with these stone things, Leslie seems to disappear and reappear at will, and Casey turns into “Axe Mom.”

Yup, the killings start, blood starts spurting, lower jaws are pulled off, beheadings, naturally, become a part of the film, and the best, well-placed line occurs, “Holy shit.”

Horror films aren’t always supposed to make a lot of sense, and “Dead Night” plays perfectly into that realm. What they are supposed to do, though, through the wackiness, is entertain or make you frightened. I will say that I wasn’t that frightened, mostly because it takes a lot for a horror film to frighten me, but the movie did keep me entertained. It also did a great job of not letting my mind wander into “checking phone land” as, with so much going on in the movie, between the switching to the “Inside Crime,” to new characters, to blood splatter, I realized I actually needed to pay attention to how everything would come together. Nice job, movie folks!

In the end I would pop “Dead Night” at 4 stars out of 5. Some nice twists aren’t ruined with blatant foreshadowing, the story comes together at the end, and the transformation of Becky into who-knows-what is glorious.

Enjoy the beheadings, enjoy the weirdness, and enjoy “Dead Night” for a tidy, little horror film that doesn’t add a lot of filler to the story just to add time.

That’s it for this one! L8R!!