‘Dead Night’ Review – An Homeage to the Horror Genre

Zombies, Murder, and Gore – Oh my! I’ve never been much of a horror buff and I’m not one to get excited when a new horror film comes out unless it’s some sort of a psychological thriller. That being said, I do have a few favorite films from the genre and I do appreciate what the genre has done for the industry, so I hope you readers can hear me out. Dark Sky Films’ Dead Night directed by Brad Baruh (Bradford) is completely insane.

During a family trip to a cabin in the snowy woods, the Pollacks encounter a stranger that will turn what was supposed to be a fun getaway to the Pollacks wanting to get away – fast. The stranger (Barbara Crampton) unleashes terror on the family and a mother (Brea Grant) begins to lose her sanity. The film tells two different perspectives which makes for more chaos.

Right from the jump, the Dead Night gets your attention with a gory scene. The film opens up with a brutal murder by some sort of creature (which I had no clue that the creature was coming). Not only does that catch the viewer’s attention but it sets up the reality of which film is set in. At this point, you know that anything can happen. It is story-telling 101: Get the audiences’ attention, set up the story’s reality.

As mentioned earlier, the film is told in two different perspectives. The audience gets to see the chaos unfold first-hand. You get to see when members start turning into zombie-like creatures – thanks to the strange woman the family brought in from the cold, Brea Grant’s character Casey Pollack axing down what used to be her family – not exactly like Amityville style because there’s much different circumstances. While the other perspective is in form of a Dateline-like “Real Life Mysteries” type of show which shows Casey Pollack being accused of brutally killing her innocent family. What the second perspective adds is more ways for the film to be interesting – as long as you can follow along, which isn’t too difficult.

Why I titled this review as “An Homage to the Horror Genre” is because it takes a bit from other iconic horror projects in that it brings familiar looking scenes and classic practical horror effects that the higher-budgeted horror films don’t really use these days. For instance, there’s a scene towards the end of the film where you see a transformation of a human turning into a humanoid creature and it was very reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s transformation in the “Thriller” music video where he turned into a werewolf, which you can technically say that it was reminiscent of An American Werewolf in London because that’s originally where the idea came from, thanks to John Landis. Things like that are found throughout the film and even I – a non-horror buff – can appreciate that.

By the time the film had ended I was surprised that I was able to enjoy Dead Night as much as I did. Yes, it has some goofy moments but it also isn’t a film that needs to be taken seriously. It pays respects to horror films before it as well as brings something different to the table, you can’t ask for much more than that.

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