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Dead End
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Dead End (2003)

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Plot Summary:
"For the past 20 years, Frank Harrington has grudgingly driven his family to celebrate Christmas with his mother-in-law. This year, he takes a shortcut. It's the biggest mistake of his life: The nightmare begins. A mysterious woman in white wanders through the forest, leaving death in her wake. A terrifying black car - its driver invisible - carries the victims into the heart of the night. Every road sign points to a destination they never reach. The survivors succumb to panic, to madness; deeply buried secrets burst to the surface, and Christmas turns into a living hell."

Reviewer: Tariq Rafiq @horrorasylum
Location:South Bucks, UK
Review Date: 16 August 2004 My Rating: out of 5


Christmas is a time to spend with the family, sitting round having dinner or on long car journey's off to visit other family members. This film is a cautionary tale for you all about: car journeys, taking short-cuts and generally spending any time with members of one's family as these activities can and will drive you insane.

This starts out as a very ominous and scary film, to its credit. There is an air of impending doom and dread but you do not know why, unfortunately this soon changes and you are introduced to a very strange world where you cannot quite understand what is going on.

A family are on a car trip to have Christmas dinner at the gran's house. The father decides to take a short cut and things take a turn for the stranger side of life when they appear to find themselves in an area that is not on any map, with strange apparitions appearing and disappearing, where all the clocks are stuck at the same time. It is as this place doesn't exist, but yet it must, they are there. How can this be explained? Hmmm? C'est tres strange, non?

Oui, oui, it is very strange as the two French directors of this film keep shoving down our throats. It starts off as a very original film as you cannot name the terror that is stalking the actors. It soon becomes a strange, slightly clichéd horror film but still manages to keep you guessing and vaguely interested. However, this then descends into a rambling, horrible, wannabe intellectual, 'ooohhhh, isn't that weird, she thinks it's all a dream but in her hand is the key she dreamt off' type films. Trying too hard to creep you out and failing on the creep, but manages to wanna get you out of the cinema a lot quicker.

It is possible to see how this would have been far more successful if made by a small independent director and film company, with the air of foreboding actually representing the horror of family get-togethers and a confined car journey magnifying the annoyances of each member of the family.

What starts out as a very promising, ominous and scary film is severely let down by the weakest of endings and there is no way it is only 85 minutes long.

Reviewer: Phil Davies Brown @horrorasylum
Location:Scotland, UK
Review Date: 10 June 2004 My Rating: out of 5

The surprise hit of 2003 (surprise because you couldn't bloody see it at the cinema) finally made it's way to DVD last month and I am finally glad to report that I have seen it.

I was so looking forward to it and knew to expect a twist in the tale so I had very cautiously avoided reading any articles or reviews of the film.

I have to say I was mildly let down.

The film is well made and constructed there is absolutely no doubt about that, but what saddened me was the fact that it completely ripped off a lesser known movie.

The cast including the excellent Ray Wise and the hilarious Lin Shaye in a return to the genre after appearing in countless gross out comedies, are excellent and the situation is one we can all relate to, which meant that the humour worked exceptionally well.

Also on display were fine uses of camera and some simple yet effective editing techniques, which had obviously been planned well in advance to ensure that they turned out perfectly.

I don't want to give away the ending for anyone but lets just say that about 15 minutes in, I knew what was going to happen and prayed that the delivery would somehow redeem the ending, but sadly it did not.

Dead End is a perfect example of how simplicity can still outdo big budget blockbusters as long as your story and characters are engaging and appealing. Sadly the ending was something of a disappointment which left me feeling glum.

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