GRIMMFEST 2019: Dead Dicks – movie review

Dead Dicks. Image credit: Courtesy of Grimmfest

I’ve been granted press accreditation for the 11th Grimmfest®, the Manchester’s International Festival of Fantastic Film. So, I had the opportunity to watch and review a bunch of upcoming horror movies. This is my review of Dead Dicks (Canada, Chris Bavota & Lee Paula Springer, horror).

This movie has a very interesting premise: after Becca (Jillian Harris) receives a distressing call from her suicidal and bipolar brother Richie (Heston Horwin), she rushes over to his apartment and finds him alive and well… except that he’s surrounded by copies of his own dead body! What happened there? How is this going to affect Richie and his sister?

Before its run at Grimmfest, Dead Dicks premiered at Fantasia Film Festival where it received quite positive reviews. One of those, coming from a rather huge media outlet, stuck out to me, claiming: «The worst thing about this film is its title». Upon watching the film, I must disagree: the title is one of the best aspects about it… and considering how cringy the title is, this should tell you a lot about the movie.

Continue reading and check my final grade below… 

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My review is also available on IMDb – Dead Dicks (2019)

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I honestly feel bad about giving a (harshly) negative review of a first feature where, clearly, the filmmakers tried their best with the little budget and resources they had to work with. Unfortunately, I have to be honest in my reviews and I can’t deny that Dead Dicks is a terrible movie.

This is the kind of movie that feels more like a school-project rather than an actual horror film you can watch on the big screen. It’s a no-budget feature and, therefore, the visuals look TV-like at best. This whole movie looks flat, visually disinteresting and dull, which is largely due to budget restraints, but also depends on how little effort was put in filming scenes: the dialogues are always shot in the basic shot-reverse-shot technique, which gets tiresome after 5/10 minutes; the movie relies on no more than 2-3 camera movements; even the close-ups are framed in a wrong way, as too much of the characters’ forehead appears in the shot.

Lighting and sound-design are very amateur as well: Dead Dicks is supposed to be taking place over the course of one night, but you can tell looking at the windows that it’s daytime outside. When the movie switches from an angle to the next, the sound becomes muffled and odd for a few seconds, which is such a rookie mistake.

Speaking of the story and its horror elements, Dead Dicks feels like an intriguing concept full of potential that wasn’t translated to the screen: Richie is supposed to be bipolar, but this issue is never fully developed, nor his character shows any kind of trait that would make you think of bipolarism. Had the movie not insisted on the bipolar thing through constant exposition, you wouldn’t even know Richie suffered from it. As for the horror elements, they’re pretty much completely absent from the picture, aside from an instance of (cool) gore and some off-screen violence.

In fact, it’s really hard to tell what tone Dead Dicks is going for: at times, jokes and comedic elements are thrown in but, since the execution is so poor, you can’t even tell whether the movie is being a horror-comedy or just an unintentionally funny disaster.

The acting doesn’t help either. There are three and a half characters in Dead Dicks and, while Horwin’s performance is convincing at times, everyone seemed to be doing an impression of the infamous “so bad it’s good” classic The Room.

Aside from a few decent bits sprinkled here and there, the only redeeming quality in this movie was the music, which often was the only aspect able to hold my interest. It was entirely composed for Dead Dicks and sounds very off-beat and eerie.

Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend Dead Dicks – to put it mildly. However, people and critics at Fantasia really dug the movie, so don’t take my word for granted and, if what you read doesn’t bother you, give it a chance when it’s made available on VOD.

Dead Dicks                                        2/10

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