Review: FACES OF THE DEAD (2019)
Faces of the Dead may set a record for the anthology film with the most introductory sequences. There are three segments before we get to the first actual story. First, we have Lloyd Kaufman broadcasting from Tromaville and telling us how scary the film is. Or how much he’s scared of the dark. Then there’s a video call between Shawn C. Phillips (Camp Blood 8: Revelations, Dead Ant) and Kyle Rappaport (It Kills) that goes horribly wrong. This bit was directed by the film’s producer Will Collazo Jr. (The Bloody Nun). Then we finally get to meet Dr. Boobenstein (Rebecca Rinehart, Sharks of the Corn) who will introduce the film’s main segments. And those segments are…
“District Dead” by David Rodriguez follows Wilkes (Ibrahim Traore) as he wanders around scavenging for food. As he eats, he thinks back to where he was when the dead rose. Investigating an allegedly haunted forest used as a mob graveyard. And his attempts to get home and save his family.
All of these segments appear to be short films in their own right. Unfortunately, there’s no IMDB listing for some of them, because I would love to know when this was filmed. Rodriguez is a makeup and effects man with credits that include Hell House LLC III: Lake of Fire. However, while the story isn’t bad, the effects are Playstation 2 level CGI for the most part. Which makes me wonder if this was an early work from him. At 47 minutes, it’s the film’s longest segment.
Tanner McGarr is next with “They Approach”. Brianna (Alexandra Foster) sees figures wearing what seems to be hospital gowns in her backyard. Nobody else can see them, even though they’re getting closer to the house.
A short and to the point segment that relies on a creepy atmosphere instead of gore. A bit of explanation as to just what the figures are might have helped, though.
Kyle Rappaport returns to direct and star in the third segment, “Killer Braniac”. He and Lisa are doing a video review of the film they’ve just seen, Killer Brainiac. It seems there’s a legend surrounding the film that brings death on anyone that gives it a bad review. Guess what happens?
There were no credits beyond “A film by Kyle Rappaport” so I don’t know who played anyone else. Bad CGI blood and a predictable script ruin this segment. At least it was short.
Next up, Chris Effan’s “Love Letters from the Dead” is something very different from the other segments. Shot in black and white, it tells the story of John (Chris Effan). Visiting his wife’s grave on the anniversary of her death, he finds a letter from her. When he writes one back, things really get interesting.
Rather than scary, “Love Letters from the Dead” is sad and touching. Although the fact her grave is in what looks more like somebody’s back yard than a cemetery is creepy in its own way. It also leaves an element of doubt in the viewer’s mind as to what really happened.
The final segment “They’re Coming to Get You” is from Victor Gaspar. Two brothers Rick (Victor Gaspar) and Lee (Gary Gaspar) have managed to stay safe this far into the zombie apocalypse. But when Barbara (Barbara Blair, Jillian Sawyna) arrives on the scene things are bound to change.
Shot in 2011, “They’re Coming to Get You” is certainly the largest scale production, with plenty of zombies on display. It also has a plot that is a bit deeper than the average zombie film. It’s a fitting final segment and ends Faces of the Dead on a high note.
Dr. Boobenstein turns up to get a last joke in and shows us her boobensteins. She even gives them a shake for the camera to wrap up Faces of the Dead.
As I noted earlier, Faces of the Dead was compiled from existing short films. Some have credits, some don’t, the same for IMDB pages. I saw it via a screener that had no end credits, which made it hard for me to list credits. If I got anyone’s credit wrong, my apologies.
For a collection of obviously very low budget shorts, Faces of the Dead is quite good. Most of the segments are worth watching if you like microbudget films. Unfortunately, the fact the lead, and longest, segment fails so badly in the effects department gets things off to a bad start. The zombie carrying what looks like Donald Trump’s head is a nice touch, though. In this world, nobody, not even the rich and powerful, are safe.
Faces of the Dead is available to stream.