3 out of 10
Release Date: 24th March 2014 (DVD Premiere)
Director: SJ Evans
Cast: Gary Mavers, Joseph Millson, Cicely Tennant, Rachel Littlemac, Stuart Boother, Simone Kaye, Simon Bamford, Suzi Lorraine with Paul Fox and Tony Todd
Writer: SJ Evans
Trailer: DEAD OF THE NITE
To Be Proofread and edited: Dead Of The Nite begins with a level of intrigue but sadly reveals itself to be yet another lacklustre ‘found-footage’ flick. A half competent framing device that looks beyond the footage is reasonably well-acted by the more experienced actors in the cast, but the lions share of proceedings are hampered by a repetitive, dumb and unforgivably unscary rendition of things that go ‘Bump In the Night!’. So whilst we’re treated to b-movie shenanigans of having American horror-icon Tony Todd (CANDYMAN) sparring with a pair of dopey police detectives played by Scouse plank Gary Mavers (VIKING – THE DARKEST DAY) and Joseph Millson (DEVIL’S BRIDGE) – we are then subjected to amateur dramatics as a group of young filmmakers get stalked by a ghost in a haunted mansion. In fact Dead Of The Nite could have been directed by two separate people bearing in mind the contrasting quality.
Detective Jenkins (GARY MAVERS) is in charge of a murder investigation. Five filmmakers have been found stabbed to death at a haunted mansion but handily they’ve left all their footage behind. Only the spooky caretaker, Mr. Rubert (TONY TODD) seems to have the vaguest idea of what’s going on and he tells the detectives a delicious ghost story. After he is released from police custody after a lack of evidence ties him to the slayings, Jenkins and Detective Anderson (JOSEPH MILLSON) begin to sift through the footage hoping to catch a glimpse of the killer.
For once Gary Mavers puts in a passable performance and seems engaged with the material.Matching him with a mild dash of ham and mustard is the brilliant Tony Todd, who can do scary in his sleep. He is one of these classically trained actors that have gotten lost in the horror genre, never to come up for air in the realms of the mainstream ever again. With three major horror franchises under his belt (FINAL DESTINATION, HATCHET and CANDYMAN) he’s got ample form in this kind of thing and he is the only reason for watching Dead of The Nite. If he had gotten himself a glimpse of the central section of the film being shot he probably would have experienced some embarrassment and disappeared in a puff of smoke!
What plays out in the found-footage is a sad remake of any number of Blair Witch Project imitators. Unwittingly, the first rule of the mock-umentary is ignored. To convince us that what we’re watching is real footage and not a film, the acting needs to be especially natural. But in this case, we’re treated to four out of five balsa wood idiots fumbling around in the dark and without purpose or skill. The only professional amongst them is the long lost Paul Fox (RED TAILS) from countless TV series and the leading role of early Tom Hardy movie Deserter. He opts wisely for an early bath after finding out that he’s in a school play version of Scooby Doo. So tedious is this filmed kids party game of ‘Murder In The Dark’ I was relieved when the detectives decided to fast forward several sections. The eventual outcome is particularly weak and unconvincing when the ghost finally appears. My no spoiler code will prevent me from telling you why it’s quite so lame and the makers exacerbate the situation by filming an end-of-credits scene (Marvel style) that will make you groan. It will leave you begging to be stabbed!
3 out of 10 – The score is for the film that frames the found-footage segment of the film and that alone. Tony Todd will draw in curious fans and he does have a reasonable amount of screen time considering the walk-ons we’ve seen in previous independents (Rutger Hauer, Robert Englund, Billy Zane, Daryl Hannah all take a bow!) There’s worse horror movies around at the moment like the godawful Heretic but I found the pull not to forward wind like the cops in the movie almost overwhelming. How meta is that?
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Gary Mavers: Aux, Emmerdale (TV), Viking – The Darkest Day, The Magnificent Eleven, Victim, Devil’s Bridge, SNUB!, Dead Man’s Cards, Peak Practice (TV), Casualty (TV), Blonde Fist
- Joseph Millson: The Chameleon, Banished (TV), The Dead 2 – India, The Magnificent Eleven, Devil’s Bridge, SNUB!
- Simon Bamford: Book of Blood, Nightbreed, Hell Raiser 2, Hell Raiser
- Suzi Lorraine: Serial Kaller
- Paul Fox: Red Tails, Deserter, Casualty (TV), The Royal (TV), Coronation St (TV)
- Tony Todd: Agoraphobia, Frankenstein (2016), The Watcher (2015), Final Destination 5, Hatchet 2, Transformers 2 (voice), 24 (TV), Hatchet, Final Destination 3 (voice), Final Destination 2, Le Secret, Final Destination, Candyman 3, Wishmaster, The Rock, Candyman 2, The Crow, Excessive Force, Night Of The Living Dead (1993), Candyman, Keeper of the City, Lean On Me, Bird, Platoon