Dead One, The (DVD) - Dread Central
Connect with us


Dead One, The (DVD)



The Dead One DVD reviewStarring Wilmer Valderrama, Angie Cepeda, Joel Moore, Tony Plana, Michael Parks, Maria Conchita Alonzo, Billy Drago

Directed by Brian Cox

The Dead One is based on a comic book I’ve never heard of called El Muerto. I got a friend who’s big into comics and when I asked him if he’d ever heard of El Muerto he too was stumped. I can only assume that El Muerto is either only known in Mexican-American circles or its a little known underground comic. Having now viewed the movie I honestly don’t know what possessed anyone to make a movie, particularly this variation on the comic. Several extras on the disc revolve around the film’s comic origins and from what I saw of the comic it looked like the film’s writer/director missed the point by a wide margin by trying to make a somewhat festive-looking comic book into a far more depressingly morose comic book superhero horror film that, ironically, is almost completely devoid either superheroics or horror. You cannot fault the film’s title for not being truth in advertising; this movie is indeed a dead one.

The concept behind The Dead One is clearly that of a knock-off of The Crow but with a Mexican flavor and just a hint of Ghost Rider tossed in for good measure. You got a cursed young man in do-it-yourself zombie white face paint dressed up like the frontman for a goth mariachi who gets brought back from the dead to do the bidding of some evil Aztec gods visualized in the form of cheesy CGI storm clouds that can manifest anywhere from in the sky to out of a television set. Naturally, the hero rebels and tries to stop them, especially when they want his girlfriend as a sacrifice.

I really see no need to get into the plot with any more detail than that because, frankly, I can’t say for sure if the plot simply didn’t make a whole lot of sense or if I was just so bored to tears by the film that in struggling to pay attention a lot the details slipped past me. Though I’ve no doubt the latter is true to some extent, I’m fairly certain this movie made zero sense – and it was indeed boring as hell. To say not a whole lot of anything happens in this film would be an understatement.

The character of Diego is introduced as a child being cursed (something to do with three days of rain and the Mexican Day of the Dead) by an old Indian played by the decidedly non-Indian Billy Drago, and then we jump forward to an adult Diego now played by Wilmer Valderrama of “That 70’s Show” looking like he’s ready to play Danny Zuko in an all Latino version of Grease. The annual Mexican Day of the Dead celebration arrives and this year some angry Aztec deities have finally decided they’re ready to collect on some sacrifices that will bring them back into prominence after having being replaced for so long by that Jesus guy.

After a hellacious vision quest, Diego awakens to find out it’s now a year later, that he died a year earlier, and that he has superhuman powers, including powers over life and death. Tormented to do the bidding of the evil Aztec forces responsible for his plight, so begins Diego’s quest for salvation, which from the looks of things primarily involves walking around Southern California an awful lot, whining even more so, and not really doing much of anything at all – well, other than walking and whining. He will set out to get his girlfriend Maria back and seek out the aid of a friend and a local priest. This will involve plenty of talking and whining. Whiniest supernatural superhero ever, folks!

Pretty much the only thing that ever perked me up would be when a recognizable actor like Michael Parks or Maria Conchita Alonzo would suddenly pop up and I’d be like, “Hey, I know her” or “Hey, there’s Michael Parks playing a sheriff like he always does in movies nowadays.”

And I couldn’t help but be slightly amused at how since his Day of the Dead costume make-up was now part of his facial skin, Diego attempted to disguise his deathly disfigurement using skin coloring cosmetics to make his face appear normal, along with wearing sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt, thus making him look like someone dressed like the Unabomber for Halloween costume. Yeah, I’m struggling to find stuff to praise.

I will say that the final battle was at least silly enough to momentarily awaken me from my near slumber, though that might have been because this was one of the only scenes in the movie where there was actual action of some sort occurring on the screen.

Poor Wilmer Valderrama … It’s rapidly becoming painfully apparent that this guy is doomed to be nothing more than this generation’s Chachi. Given his fame stems from playing a character known by one name on a period setting sitcom and his real-life reputation for boning no shortage of famous starlets, I fully expect to turn on VH1 in twenty years and see them airing a program called “Wilmer Valderrama is 45 & Single”. He really does have Scott Baio’s career trajectory at this point and he does himself no favors here. Even under his dead man make-up the guy still looks like a vacuous pretty boy trying ever so hard to come across as dark and brooding. Sorry, Wilmer, but it’s just not happening.

The disc comes loaded with extras (why?), most of the behind the scenes variety and that dealing with comic book on which it’s based. The only featurette I didn’t find myself shuttling through was the one about Mexico’s “Day of the Dead”, in which the comic’s creator explains his character and the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday in such detail and with such enthusiasm that it only further pounded home what a piss poor job the film adaptation was. Just looking at the comic book slideshow makes it clear that it isn’t anywhere as drearily dull as the film they’ve made out of it.

Once again, I must state how befitting a title The Dead One is. The film is lifeless and I’m only scoring it a one.

Special Features

  • Exclusive Collectible Mini Comic Book
  • Wash & Wear Tattoos
  • The Making of The Dead One
  • Fun on the Set of The Dead One
  • Commentary Featuring Brian Cox and Javier Hernandez
  • “Day of the Dead” Featurette
  • Slide Show of the First Comic Book

    1 out of 5


    2 out of 5

    Discuss The Dead One in the Dread Central forums!

    Continue Reading


    Desolation Review – The Joy of Being Rescued and All the Surprises That Come With It



    Starring Raymond J. Barry, Brock Kelly, Dominik Garcia-Lorido

    Directed by David Moscow

    It’s those random, once-in-a-lifetime encounters that only a select few get the chance to experience: when we as regular participants in this wonderful thing known as The Rat Race, stumble across a soul that we’ve only witnessed on the big screen. I’m talking about a celebrity encounter, and while some of the masses will chalk the experience up as nothing more than a passing moment, others hold it to a much larger interior scale…then you REALLY get to know the person, and that’s when things get interesting.

    Director David Moscow’s thriller, Desolation follows shy hotel employee Katie (Lorido) and her “fortuitous” brush with Hollywood pretty-boy Jay (Kelly) during one of his stops – the two hit it off, and together they begin a sort of whirlwind-romance that takes her away from her job and drops her in the heart of Los Angeles at the apartment building he resides in. You can clearly see that she has been a woman who’s suffered some emotional trauma in her past, and this golden boy just happens to gallop in on his steed and sweep her off of her feet, essentially rescuing her from a life of mundane activity. She gets the full-blown treatment: a revamped wardrobe, plenty of lovin’, and generally the life she’s wanted for some time.

    Things return to a bit of normalcy when Jay has to return to work, leaving Katie to spread out at his place, but something clearly isn’t kosher with this joint. With its odd inhabitants (a very creepy priest played by Raymond J. Barry), even more bizarre occurrences, and when one scared young woman cannot even rely on the protection from the local police, it all adds up to a series of red flags that would have even the strongest of psyches crying for their mothers. What Moscow does with this movie is give it just enough swerves so that it keeps your skull churning, but doesn’t overdo its potential to conclusively surprise you, and that’s what makes the film an entertaining watch.

    While Lorido more than holds her ground with her portrayal of a woman who has been hurt in the past, and is attempting to place her faith in a new relationship, it’s Barry that comes out on top here. His performance as Father Bill is the kind of stuff that wouldn’t exactly chill you to the bone, but he’s definitely not a man of the cloth that you’d want to be stuck behind closed doors with – generally unsettling. As I mentioned earlier, the plot twists are well-placed, and keep things fresh just when you think you’ve got your junior private investigator badge all shined up. Desolation is well-worth a look, and really has kicked off 2018 in a promising fashion – let’s see what the other 11 months will feed us beasts.

    • Film


    Got your eye on that shining movie star or starlet? Better make sure it’s what you really want in life – you know what they say about curiosity.

    User Rating 0 (0 votes)
    Continue Reading


    Wolf Guy Blu-ray Review – Sonny Chiba As A Werewolf Cop In ’70s Japan



    Wolf Guy UK SleeveStarring Sonny Chiba, Etsuko Nami, Kyosuke Machida

    Directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi

    Distributed by Arrow Video

    As virtually every American adaptation has proven, translating manga to the big screen is a job best left to Japanese filmmakers. There is an inherent weirdness – for lack of a better term – to their cultural media that should be kept “in house” if there is to be any hope for success. Ironically, the stories are often so fantastical and wildly creative that a big American studio budget would be necessary to fully realize such a live-action vision. But I digress. Back in 1975, Toei Studios (home of Gamera) adapted the 1970 manga series Wolf Guy into a feature of the same name. Starring the legendary Shin’ichi Chiba (a.k.a. Sonny Chiba), who at that time was in his prime, the film combines elements of crime and psychedelic cinema, delivering less of a werewolf film (despite the title suggesting otherwise) and more of a boilerplate crime caper with a cop who has a few tricks up his hairy sleeve. I should stress it is the story that plays fairly straightforward, while the film itself is a wild kaleidoscope of strange characters and confounding situations… mostly.

    An unseen killer, known only as “The Tiger”, prowls the streets at night slashing victims to death and leaving behind no trace. Beat cop Akira Inugami (Sonny Chiba) is on the case, and he has an advantage over his fellow brothers in blue: being a werewolf. As the opening credits flashback shows, Akira is the sole survivor of the Inugami clan of werewolves after a slaughter wiped out the rest of his kind. Now, as the last of his brethren, he uses his acute lycanthropic skills, under the auspices of the moon, to track down underworld thugs and solve cases uniquely tailored to his abilities. As the lunar cycle of the moon sees it growing fuller Akira’s powers, too, increase to superhuman levels.

    Searching for this mysterious “Tiger”, Akira is led into a subterranean world of clandestine government organizations, nightclub antics, and corrupt politicians. One night, Akira is attacked and taken prisoner by a government research lab that wants to use his blood to create werewolves they can control. Only problem is – which they don’t realize – Akira’s blood cannot be mixed with that of a human; the only end result is death. Miki (Etsuko Nami), a drug user with syphilis, comes to Akira’s aid and proves to be quite useful. She holds a secret that has the potential to vastly change Akira’s world but, first, a showdown with the criminal underbelly looms on the horizon… as does the fifteenth day of the Lunar Cycle, when Akira will be made nearly invincible.

    First, some bad news: Sonny Chiba never attains full werewolf status. This is not that movie. Sure, he growls and snarls and sneers and possesses many of the traits of a werewolf but in terms of physical characteristics he more or less remains “human” the entire time. Yes, even during “Lunar Cycle Day 15”, a.k.a. the moment every viewer is waiting for, to see him turn into a wolf. Instead, he just winds up kicking a lot of ass and taking very little damage. To be fair, a grizzled Sonny Chiba is still enough of a formidable presence, but, man, to see him decked out as a full-on kung-fu fighting werewolf would’ve been badass. The film could have done better at tempering expectations because it builds up “Day 15” like viewers are going to see an explosion of fur and flesh, instead it’s just plenty of the latter. Aw, well.

    Lack of werewolf-ing aside, the film plays out a bit uneven. The opening offers up a strong start, with The Tiger attack, wily underworld characters being introduced, and a tripped-out acid garage rock soundtrack (which I’d kill for a copy of). But Second Act Lag is a real thing here and many of the elements that may have piqued viewer curiosity in the first act are scuttled, and although the third act and climax bring forth fresh action and a solution to the mystery it also feels a bit restrained. Then again, this is Toei, often seen as a cheaper Toho. Wolf Guy serves as a good introduction to Akira Inugami and his way of life, which makes it a greater shame no sequels were produced.

    Presented with a 2.35:1 1080p image, Wolf Guy hits Blu-ray with a master supplied by Toei, meaning Arrow did no restorative work of their own on the picture – and it shows. Japanese film elements, especially those of older films, are often notorious for being poorly housed and feebly restored. This transfer is emblematic of those issues, with hazy black levels, average-to-poor definition, minimal shadow detail, and film grain that gets awfully noisy at times. The best compliment I can give is daylight close-up scenes exhibit a pleasing level of fine detail, though nothing too eye-popping. This is a decidedly mediocre transfer across the board.

    The score fares a bit better, not because the Japanese LPCM 1.0 mono mix is a beast but because the soundtrack is so wildly kinetic, exploding with wild garage rock and fuzzy riffs right from the get-go. Dialogue has a slight hiss on the letter “s” but is otherwise nicely balanced within the mix. Subtitles are available in English.

    “Kazuhiko Yamaguchi: Movies with Guts” is a September 2016 sit-down with the film’s director, who reflects on his career and working with an icon like Sonny Chiba.

    “Toru Yoshida: B-Movie Master” is an interview with Yoshida, a former producer at Toei who oversaw this film and many others.

    “Sonny Chiba: A Life in Action, Vol. 1” covers the man’s career up to a point, with the remainder finished on Arrow’s other 2017 Chiba release, Doberman Cop.

    A theatrical trailer is also included, as is a DVD copy of the feature.

    Special Features:

    • Kazuhiko Yamaguchi: Movies with Guts
    • Toru Yoshida: B-Movie Master
    • Sonny Chiba: A Life in Action, Vol. 1
    • Theatrical trailer
    • Wolf Guy
    • Special Features


    While the film might be a bit of a letdown given what is suggested, fans of bizarre Japanese ’70s cinema – and certainly fans of Chiba’s work – should, at the least, have fun with this title.

    User Rating 0 (0 votes)
    Comments Rating 0 (0 reviews)
    Continue Reading


    Inside (Remake) Review – Is It as Brutal as the Original?



    Starring Rachel Nichols Laura Harring

    Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas

    While the directing duo of the cringe-inducing and original 2007 French grand guignol thriller Inside have gone on to refurbishments of their own—Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo recently helmed a retread of Leatherface’s origin story—their flick now has an American stamp on it with the release of the remake, also titled Inside.

    A cheerless Christmas eve sets the stage for heavily-pregnant widow Sarah’s (Rachel Nichols) oncoming ordeal. It’s a frigid and snowy night. She’s got a huge house to herself, following the accidental and violent death of her husband. She wants to sell the home that was meant to hold a family, to forget the nascent memories it once held. But she’s got to ride it out until the baby is born. While Sarah is lonesome, she won’t be alone. She’s got her genial gay neighbor nearby, and her mum is going to come and stay with her for a few days. Oh, and there will be an unexpected visitor too.

    When a shadowy, seemingly stranded stranger (Laura Harring) knocks on the door pleading to be let inside, Sarah instinctively balks. She even calls the cops. But the woman leaves and all seems well. Crisis averted. Sarah puts the housekeys in the mailbox outside for Mom, and goes to bed. Big mistake.

    Mystery Lady shows up at Sarah’s bedside armed with chloroform, an IV bag, and a case full of sharp-and-pointies (sorry, ’07 fans… those implements do not include a pair of scissors). The horror unfolds and the expected yet lively game of gory cat-and-mouse ensues. Then the tete-a-tete becomes a body-count chiller featuring one shocking moment after another.

    Nichols is fantastic in the role, giving it her all. When the original Inside came out eleven years ago, she was starring in another French-helmed horror, P2—also set on Christmas eve—and she stole the show. She does the same here but with a less-intense adversary. Harring’s killer character, unlike her European counterpart, has a lot to say—which takes away from her initially mysterious manner as the minutes tick off. Still, the girl-on-girl action is a welcome change from the usual gender dynamic one sees in these things. Both deserve kudos for their performances.

    While Inside isn’t a died-in-the-wool “Hollywood” remake (Miguel Ángel Vivas directs, while [REC] co-creator Jaume Balagueró wrote it) it feels like one. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end). However, Inside is still a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it.

    • Inside (Remake)


    Inside is a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end).

    User Rating 1.75 (4 votes)
    Continue Reading

    Recent Comments


    Join the Box of Dread Mailing List

    * indicates required

    Go Ad Free!

    Support Dread Central on Patreon!


    Copyright © 2017 Dread Central Media LLC