Dead Noon (2008)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring Kane Hodder, Robert Bear, Tye Nelson, Kelsey McCann, Scott Philips
Directed by Andrew Wiest
Two days ago I watched Dead Noon at home. The next day I saw The Spirit at a movie theater. Today I am a man in desperate need of a good movie - a well written movie, a movie that isn't just a whole lot of empty style and no substance, a movie that doesn't have me checking my watch constantly, a genuinely good movie with genuinely good actors reciting genuinely good dialogue telling a genuinely good story. Please, Lord, send me a genuinely good movie and quick.
I'm convinced that Dead Noon isn't even a real movie to begin with. It's more like a demo reel showcasing the director's stylistic prowess with filters and editing and lighting and green screens and so on. The script is credited to three different people, astonishing, given there's barely enough material to make a 20-minute short film yet it runs for about 80-minutes. Director Andrew Wiest is definitely a guy with some talent behind the camera, but the longer this film went on the more aggravated I became by its complete lack of focus or substance or, well, anything.
A Wild West outlaw of the soft spoken, cold hearted, Johnny Ringo-variety beats the devil at poker and earns the right to return to our mortal realm and resurrect his long dead posse to raise a little hell in present day and seek revenge against the descendant of the sheriff that killed him and his posse back in the Old West days. That descendant is the newly married sheriff of this little hick burb just like his forefathers. This undead outlaw constantly talks about what a coward this sheriff is supposed to be leaving me a tad befuddled as to what part of the movie was designed to convey this cowardice. Was it when he chooses to stay and fight rather than make a run for it? Was it when he and his posse were blowing away undead cowboys and attacking skeletons left and right with the greatest of ease?
These outlaws fire guns that shoot fire and when they get shot the wounds leave large flaming bullet hole. Neat stuff until you've seen it for the 10th time.
That leads me to another complaint: action scenes that were kind of cool the first few moments just go on and on becoming repetitious and tiresome. One character is on the run from unseen undead outlaws firing guns that cause their targets to explode in flame - a neat sequence until you realize you're still watching a guy running about while tree limbs next to him erupt in fire over and over and over and over again. A pre-title sequence fight honestly had me wondering if they were going to attempt to outdo the extended alley fight from They Live. Even the climactic high noon showdown between the sheriff and the outlaw is so drawn out before they finally pull their pistols I was about ready to yell at the screen for somebody to fire already.
There's also a lengthy chase when the bad guys kidnap the sheriff's new bride. Making this doubly dull is that we’re told by the narrator before the sequence even begins that they kidnap her so we know she isn't going to getaway and any suspense of the scene is DOA.
Guess they had to drag Dead Noon out to feature length somehow. Certainly wasn't going to happen based on storytelling.
Things even start getting needlessly artsy as the film goes on, which, again, showcases Wiest's technical capabilities while completely losing sight of any semblance of narrative.
By the half hour mark I'd begun running out of patience. By the 45-minute mark I'd about given up. That was about the time I developed my theory that Dead Noon was really just a feature length demo reel masquerading as an ultra low budget horror western. An actual motion picture this is not. And if I'm correct in my theory, I sincerely hope Wiest gets some notice. I hope it leads to him working with some better material. I'd be curious to see what this guy could do with an actual script.
Kane Hodder gets top billing. This is positively laughable given he's only in the film for a few minutes serving as something of the film's narrator, a cowboy with a burnt face who has kidnapped a frightened and confused young woman, driven her out to the middle of nowhere, and proceeds to tell us the film's story as something of a campfire tale. These wraparound segments lead to a big twist at the end. Except that twist doesn't actually have a pay-off and the movie just ends afterwards. Not soon enough.
1 1/2 out of 5
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