A paranormal comedy now available on digital download, Dead, which featured at this year’s Frightfest is a lighthearted take on the zombie horror genre about a hapless stoner Marbles (co-writer Thomas Sainsbury) who discovers he can see dead people with the assistance of a marijuana hallucinogenic cocktail he’s developed. He is forced into a murder mystery caper when dead cop Tagg (writer, director Hayden J. Weal), wearing only boxer shorts and his uniform having lost his trousers in the pursuit of his assailant, recruits Marbles for his very own murder hunt.

The lack of extreme violence and gore for most of the movie sets this film apart from its more typical 18 rated counterparts, although it still maintains some gory detail. It focuses more on its murder mystery, on screen chemistries and humorous dialogue, and whilst it produces only a rare belly laugh, it sits easily alongside a growing trend of entertaining comedy films from New Zealand, with its down to earth appeal dealing with the bizarre and wacky, in a style reminiscent of the Simon Pegg and Nick Frost partnership in films like Shaun of the Dead.

The writers and director have mostly done a good job in making a fun watchable movie which has an overriding air of campness. The two main characters make a reluctant detective partnership set on finding the murderer and the growing bond between the macho antipodean cop and the slightly camp Marbles raises eyebrows from the beginning. This may also help keep a lid on any majorly frightening stuff happening, until the very end, when everyone seems to lose the plot with or without the hallucinogenic drugs.

Film: Dead

Run time: 1hr 30 min

Director:  Hayden J. Weal

Stars: Thomas Sainsbury, Hayden J. Weal, Jennifer Ward-Lealand

Genre: Comedy / Horror

Rated: 18

Rating: 3/5

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