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Review: DEAD LIST (2017)

We’ve all heard, or maybe even said, “I’d kill for that job”, well aspiring actor Cal (Deane Sullivan) is given the chance to do just that. A strange book falls from the sky and hits his car as he sits in traffic, (on his way back from another bad audition, naturally). His roommate Trevor (Jan-David Soutar) just happens to be an expert on such things and tells him the book has the power to kill anyone whose name is written in it. We witness the fates of five rivals whose names are entered onto the DEAD LIST.

Zander (Matt Fowler) gets a fatal lesson in race relations and police brutality. A very short and very obvious story, it’s probably the weakest of the bunch.

Scott (Nick Bandera) has hearing problems associated with his phone, most notably a high-pitched ringing sound. This is told with a minimum of dialogue and a lot of distorted audio. It’s a creepy and effective segment.

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Jason (Eric Pierce) is a serial cheater who ends up with a weird old hag stalking him. The segment has some creepy moments and absurd humour but also suffers from fatal lapses of logic.

Kush (Rob Healy) is a stoner/surfer dude who gets bit by something weird while he’s out on his board. This is the gorefest of the bunch, as whatever it was that bit him causes him to start melting. Not a lot of plot, but some nice effects.

Bob (Josh Eichenbaum) is a coke addict with two problems. He’s out of coke, and he’s being stalked by a killer clown. There are some nice touches involving circus tricks in this one, and it sets up the conclusion of the wraparound segment.

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As you can tell, DEATH LIST is heavily inspired by DEATH NOTE, but with the nonlinear narrative style of PULP FICTION, which gets a bit confusing at times. However, the segments do well by themselves. Writer/directors Holden Andrews, Ivan Asen, and Victor Mathieu (THE MONSTER PROJECT) do a good job of mixing up ideas and styles to keep things from becoming repetitive and boring.

Shot on what must have been an extremely low budget, DEAD LIST looks rough from a production standpoint. There’s some really ugly looking cinematography at times and a lot of handheld shaky cam. Thankfully it gets better as the segments go on, don’t let the beginning scare you off.

Despite its flaws, DEAD LIST is an overall enjoyable watch and shows promise from those involved. High Octane Pictures will be making DEAD LIST available 5/1/18 on VOD, 7/3/18 on DVD, and SVOD 9/4/18.

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