Dead Night – Good, Bad & Ugly Review

A caring mother loses her sanity, setting off a chain of events resulting in tragedy and murder. The story of Casey Pollack unfolds from two very different perspectives when one night in the woods culminates in absolute terror. – (Source)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 70% (Critics) / 61% (Audience)
MetaScore: N/A
Directed By: Brad Baruh
Written By: Irving Winkler
Starring: Brea Grant, AJ Bowen, Elise Luthman and Barbara Crampton
Studio: Dark Sky Films

The Good:
Timeless horror movie Scream Queen Barbara Crampton is the MVP of DEAD NIGHT. From the second she shows up she captivates and she steals every scene she is in. And when she isn’t onscreen I found myself counting the seconds until she popped back up. If the horror gods are listening they will allow Brad Baruh and Irving Winkler to get the financing to make a movie all about the fabulously malevolent Leslie Bison torturing a new doomed family for 2 hours.

The first half of the movie was very well done and seemed to be setting up a claustrophobic game of cat and mouse at a snowed in cabin which I was all prepared take in. The tension during the dinner scene with Crampton’s Leslie Bison being increasingly familiar and inappropriate was entertaining and I wanted to see more of that type of scene.

The gimmick of an UNSOLVED MYSTERIES style show detailing the aftermath of the bloody events that we were to discover occurred at the snowed in cabin was a smart touch and heightened the suspense as the viewer awaited seeing just how the case file on the show stacked up to the actual murders that were about to take place.

The Bad:
So much of this movie made no sense and once the movie decided to jettison the suspense elements and go full throttle into the horror side of things the movie moved at such a breakneck pace that the things that didn’t make sense were even more confusing.

The beginning of the movie set up a pattern for the supernatural shenanigans that the rest of the movie seemed to be building toward yet what happened at the end of the film bore no relation to what we were shown as a seeming pattern in the beginning. And for the life of me I am still trying to figure out what the hell the lady who rented the cabin was doing when she was chaining her SUV to a tree. We spent a smooth 3 minutes watching her lugging this heavy chain around a tree yet never got a pay off to it.

The Ugly:
Leslie Bison seemed to have superpowers yet they were never explained to the audience and seemed to just fit whatever the folks making the movie decided they needed them to be in order to create what they thought was a “cool” scene. Call me crazy but I expect a little structure to my horror and DEAD NIGHT was the least structured movie I have seen in a while.

Final Verdict: DEAD NIGHT is a wildly uneven film that starts strong but goes off the rails in it’s second half. Luckily horror veteran Barbara Crampton is there to keep the proceedings interesting despite how confusingly muddled it all becomes.

Grade: C-

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