Directed by B. Harrison Smith
Having been on plenty of movies sets, from indie to big budget, I can tell you first-hand that producers and directors… well, sometimes they can be real assholes. Such is the case with filmmaker Julian Barrett (Roberts), who was more than just a little out of hand with his cast and crew. So bad was he that he was eventually ousted from the movie making scene. Now, decades later, he’s back with a new reality show, which he intends to use as a stepping stone to jumpstart his now defunct slasher movie franchise.
What Barrett has done to make this happen is assemble a group of very troubled youths. From drug dealers to killers, these kids represent the worst of society’s crop, and it’s our maniacal director’s job to get them help and reform them while systematically having then fictitiously offed in the process. Or so our unlucky campers think. You see, on the set of Dead.tv the murder scenes are more than just special effects. So what makes these kids want to stick around for the long haul? Promises of riches and fame of course. Too bad none of them will live long enough to fully enjoy it.
In a nutshell, that’s your setup, but the flick is home to an ample amount of twists and turns that legit caught me off guard. This is a very smart entry into the slasher sub-genre. What it did not have an ample amount of is scream queen Danielle Harris. Being big fans of hers, we just wish she could have been a more prominent part of the goings-on. Thankfully we do get plenty of Roberts and Sleepaway Camp‘s Felissa Rose, whose acting skills have grown exponentially since the early 80’s when her prepubescent peeney was flapping flaccidly in the wind.
Being that it’s a slasher film, the main question on your mind is probably, “Yeah, screw the acting, etc. How are the kills?” Unfortunately, despite having the Syfy Channel’s “Monster Man,” Cleve Hall, in charge of the grue, a lot of the murders land squarely on the standard side of the fence. That’s not to say that there isn’t some wonderfully sticky stuff, too… just not enough for my tastes.
Thankfully, the pacing, acting, and writing (never before have I heard the term “cum stain” thrown around with such gleeful reckless abandon) are a cut above the usual kids-in-the-woods fare. That makes it easier to forgive Dead.tv‘s shortcomings no matter how crucial they may seem. B. Harrison Smith is pretty damned cocksure in terms of his directing and writing ability here in his debut feature, and we expect some good things from this cat in the future. He certainly proved that he knows how to get the most out of his material, and that’s pretty rare nowadays as so many filmmakers are just churning out zombie this or found footage that.
Dead.tv is a fun, funny, and at times unpredictable good time that goes for broke. Here’s hoping it gets renewed for a second season.
3 1/2 out of 5