The recently deceased haunting those who brought about their untimely demise is probably the oldest plot device in horror. As a result, it’s getting hard to come up with a new twist on them. Writer Federico Fernandez-Armesto (Atomica) and director Stefan Georgiou deserve credit for finding an approach to the idea I hadn’t seen before in The Dead Ones. It’s a well done short that gets somewhat let down by its attempts at a twist ending.
Alex (Olivia Hallinan) is haunted by the spirit of Jono (Sebastian Armesto) She didn’t murder him but she did kill him, running him over while driving under the influence. His style of haunting seems to be more of a cross between an unpleasant roommate and a stalker than the traditional angry spirit. Sitting smoking, (even death can’t get some folk to quit it seems), in her living room, following her everywhere she goes, making snarky comments, etc.
While out one day she’s approached by Large (Jim Conway) who’s haunted by Marla (Vinette Robinson) whom he did kill. She also finds out there may be a way to find salvation, but at a high price.
The Dead Ones has a gritty feel and characters who feel real. Large may be drawn as a bit too obvious of a villain. For example, at one point boasting about only doing a short sentence for Marla’s murder because they couldn’t find the body. But overall the characters, living and dead, are relatable.
The same can be said for the plot. When we find out what Alex’s path to redemption entails, it makes sense. It’s a logical process, with just one issue and that’s where the trouble starts. The Dead Ones ends with two reveals. As soon as I heard the plan I saw one of them coming,
The other just felt like it was a bit far fetched. I know that’s an odd term to be using about a movie where we accept the dead talking to the living. But it felt like an incredible stretch and pulled the film’s climax down. And that’s a shame because for most of its running time The Dead Ones is a well made and interesting film. It’s a shame it stumbles at the finish line.