Dead End (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)


I'm not sure if Dead End can properly called a movie. It's basically an hour-long supernatural TV thriller. If you take out the beginning and ending credits, it would run about 75 minutes, which will work beautifully at 90 minutes with commercials.

Want to be a filmmaker? If you pay your actors scale rates and shoot DV on a rented camera, you can probably duplicate this film in a weekend of shooting with a budget of less than $10,000.

And you might actually improve on it!

About the only things the film has going for it are:

  • A good performance from veteran genre actor Ray Wise.

  • Amber Smith's pretty bum.

Apart from Wise, the actors seem to be people recruited from among friendly passers-by. The plot couldn't be much more transparent. I'm about to spoil this, but it doesn't matter. If you can't figure out the secret in the first five minutes, you have probably never seen a movie or TV show before, in which case this might seem interesting.

Wise and his family are traveling in their car at night when he nods off, snapping back to alertness just in time to avoid another car. The father pulls off the road, takes stock, finds that nobody is injured, and continues the trip, but the family members find themselves on a mysterious, unmarked road.

This is where Rod Serling should be emerging from behind a bush, furiously chain-smoking in the machine-induced fog, and remarking that their journey has left the road to Fresno and taken the last exit for ... (cue mysterious music) The Twilight Zone.

The rest of the family's journey consists of spooky and gruesome encounters, first with a beautiful but badly-injured woman and her baby, then with a mysterious hearse which drives by occasionally, each time carting off one member of the family. Finally, as the sole surviving daughter sees the hearse coming for her, the woman with the baby says, "Don't worry. It isn't here for you". The beautiful woman climbs into the hearse,  and the survivor ...


Amber Smith shows her bum in a scene of standing full rear nudity.

DVD info from Amazon

  • no widescreen, no features

... wakes up in the hospital and finds that she was in an accident in which her whole family died except her. They crashed head-on into another car driven by a woman with a small baby. Everything we saw before the accident was reality. Everything we saw after that point was in the daughter's mind.

The camera should then pan off to the right to find Serling standing next to the IV unit, pontificating about life's mysteries and the differences between dreams and reality, as he fires up another Lucky Strike.

The Critics Vote ...

  • British consensus: two stars. Independent 4/10, Guardian 6/10, Times 4/10, Sun 6/10, Express 6/10, Mirror 6/10, BBC 3/5

The People Vote ...

  • It was released theatrically in the UK, where it grossed about $170,000 on 35 screens over a two week period.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. It is definitely targeted at the under-29 genre audience, and many of those people seemed to like it. Experienced, mature genre fans should find it to be a completely unoriginal low budget rehash of ideas covered better elsewhere. Mainstream viewers should find it too gruesome and probably too obvious to be worth the time. I didn't like it, and had figured out every detail of the plot within minutes. On the other hand, some of the younger genre lovers praised, perhaps because they have not seen the same thing twenty times before with better production values.

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