Dead End Road (2004) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
It's another one of those "theme slasher" movies which have been so
popular since the campy Doctor Phibes films. In this particular
avatar, the theme slasher skulks around in a top hat because he
bases his murders around the life and works of Edgar Allen Poe. Poe!
Why didn't I think of that? This just shows you why my slasher
scripts always fail. My last serial slasher based his slayings on
the life and works of John Irving. Most of the early murders were
quite slow because the killer would simply give his victims really
bad news, or maybe remind them of repressed childhood memories, and
then wait for them to die from severe depression. Things finally
sped up when the murderer bought a trained circus bear on eBay and
taught him that he could amuse audiences with murder just as easily
as with zany hijinks.
Man, I never could master those themed murders. I couldn't handle the numbered list theme either. There have been serial murderers who have based their crimes on the seven deadly sins and the ten commandments and the twelve signs of the zodiac, and other well known numbered lists, so I thought I could create a genre mystery by inventing a killer who killed each victim based upon one of the three Pep Boys, but the script was too short. I guess I could wait for them to name additional Pep Individuals, but many of my friends told me that the script was just too technical, and would only appeal to those who truly appreciate fine auto parts. Maybe I'll change it and have each murder based on one of the Seven Little Foys.
The premise of Dead End Road is as follows:
A detective has been on the trail of the "Poe killer" for many years, but the kidnapping of a high profile supermodel causes the FBI to take over the case. The detective might normally be a bit upset over this blatant turf grab by the feds, but he can't really say much since the FBI agent assigned to the case is his own daughter. The detective walks away and retires to lecture at a nearby college. The FBI woman soon figures out how to use the internet to contact the killer and sets up a meeting. She and her partner show up without back-up, which soon results in his death and her abduction. Of course, the brings the old detective out of retirement to save his daughter from his old nemesis.
I could tell you that this film is not really DVD quality, but that would be misleading, because this film is not even BVD quality. That's right, if you put your shorts up on the wall, they would be more interesting than this film.
And they would have a more satisfying ending.
No, that isn't really true. I'm just being mean. This film is really, really bad in certain ways, but it is also quite competent in others.
Let's start with the film's liabilities.
So much for the really bad news. Those two points both boil down to the same thing: no money. Film is expensive. Lighting is expensive. Sets are expensive. Costumes are expensive. Actors are expensive. Realistic gore is expensive.
There is good news.
You get the impression that this director could make a good movie if he had the money.
This, however, ain't it.
The film's sour notes are so sour that the typical viewer won't stay interested. Some actors deliver their lines so poorly that they destroy the fourth wall. It is never possible to just relax, get drawn in, and forget that one is watching a movie. Without being drawn into the story, one cannot care about the fates of the characters. Once that happens, it is no longer possible for the film to create any emotional involvement, no matter how clever and dramatic the visuals might be.
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