Dead List (2018) – Movie Review

You’re a struggling actor in Hollywood, just trying to climb your way to the top. You’ve blown yet another audition, and now you have to take that drive-of-shame home. Suddenly, the answer to all of your problems literally falls from the sky and lands on your car. Would you make a deal with evil forces in order to get ahead of your peers?

(Synopsis provided by IMDb.com):

Dead List, or as I like to call it, indie horror’s Death Note, centers around struggling actor Cal (Deane Sullivan) who conjures up a dark force to help him win a movie role. The film is actually an anthology that brings together six tales of six men. They were written and directed by three up-and-coming filmmakers: Holden Andrews (The Harvest 2016, Scary Nights 2017), Victor Mathieu (The Monster Project 2017, Scary Nights 2017) and visual effects artist Ivan Asen (Maleficent 2014). The score for the film was composed by Bobby Brader (Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children 2016), who created music that fit perfectly with the segments in Dead List. The main theme was so catchy… I absolutely loved it!

The first story, “Zander,” is one that seemed very out of place compared to the rest. First of all, the problem that Zander (Matt Fowler) is forced to deal with doesn’t ring true with his character at all. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that, when it comes to the other guys, the things they had to deal with made more sense with their characters and situations. This segment just seemed so out of place, and honestly, made me a little doubtful about the rest of the film. Thankfully, the second story, “Scott,” is one of the better tales and has the most relevant punishment for its main character (Nick Bandera).

Nick Bandera, Dead List, man with drill

Story three won me over completely. It was, by far, my favorite segment in Dead List! It had such a creepy atmosphere that sent chills down my spine. Susan Strangl (The Monster Project 2017) was mostly responsible for those chills. Her performance was so menacing, I almost regretted watching Dead List at night. The fourth segment had some of the gnarliest special effects I’ve ever seen. I was very impressed! It had a setting that reminded me a bit of “The Raft” segment from Creepshow 2, and then it took it up a notch. 

The last segment, “Bob,” was the most entertaining and hilarious for me, and not just because it involved clowns. Josh Eichenbaum played the title character, who is probably my favorite character in this entire film. Josh seemed to get completely lost in the role, donning Joker makeup, doing drugs, and dancing with a clown suit. You can just imagine where it all leads for poor ol’ Bob.

The wrap-around story does its job explaining the reasoning behind all of the chaos. Roommates Cal and Trevor (Jan-David Soutar) have some good, on-screen chemistry and were very entertaining. The ending was wildly predictable, but still relevant to the film.

Deane Sullivan, Dead List

Overall, Dead List brought up a roller coaster of emotions from me, combining everything from frustration to confusion to chills to awe and finally, to disbelieving yet entertaining laughter. With every anthology film, you have to take the good segments with the bad. Dead List definitely has its flaws, but it was still very amusing!

About Karli Lawson

I basically grew up watching horror films and spooky things. I watched my first horror film when I was 4 years old. I've wanted to be a writer ever since I've read Stephen King books in middle school. I love writing and talking about my favorite genre. I hope to one day be successful in screenwriting and filmmaking. Everything horror, of course!

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