Friday, April 04, 2008

The Dreaded – review

Director: Chris Robinson

Release Date: 1990

Contains spoilers

This is a low to no budget flick, which stars, primarily, folks that only made this movie. So, from the beginning, we have low expectations. In that respect is doesn’t disappoint as it fails story wise too, being fairly pedestrian.

The film begins with a girl being attacked in a parking lot, off camera, and then we cut to a small Texas town. Melanie (Lisa Watts) is a library assistant with an overworked libido (if the dialogue is anything to go by) and an awful taste in clothing. I mean it is really bad. She shares a flat with Vickey (Raney Lasusa) a perennially happy girl – by which I mean that the main emotion the actress offers is smiley face. Vickey’s boyfriend is Evan (Brad Cook) a realtor who has just sold the old Mayfield place.

Melanie’s boyfriend is Mark (Todd Jones) an earnest young man, who is also a detective in the local police. They go on a date but Mark is called away. This upsets Melanie and she demands to be taken to the mall. The girl accepts that Mark is a cop but not the baggage that entails. Whilst Mark is called to a double homicide, girls with their throats ripped out, she bumps into the new man in town, Andrew Frazier (Tim Cobb), quite literally, in the mall.

The next evening He finds her in the library, after dealing with the prudish Miss Prigg (Dixie Corrington) with some good old eye mojo he asks Melanie on a date – she accepts. This, of course, is not going to please Mark, no sir. The romance between the two blossoms. I should mention one moment, during this romance and screenshot here, where it is clearly daytime. Odd, as he cannot stand the sun, being a vampire and all.

Anyway, top and tail of it is that Mark realises that Andrew is a vampire, losses his job and goes all amateur Van Helsing. It is a marked feature of vampire movies that when someone becomes an amateur vampire hunter they start reading books, and Mark is no exception. Strange that he gets his main information, late in the film, from a role playing manual.

Of course, murdered girls, kids attacked in the house (with one survivor talking monsters), similar attacks in Dallas – where Andrew has just moved from, the murder of his realtor and his lack of presence in daylight. None of these things set alarm bells going with the other cops and this is an example of where the film falls down.

It is unintentionally hilarious at the points where, for example, Mark has broken into Andrew’s house, called the police and no-one, not a single one of them, has noted that Andrew has no reflection in the mirror. They are all stood there, trained investigators all, and not a single one notices. In the same sequence, after the cops have left, Melanie opens a curtain and Andrew burns his face – only Mark notices and yet he doesn’t go for vampire until a little later. He found the man, no pulse, in a coffin and he doesn’t seem to put two and two together. Talk about thick.

As for the coffin, well it isn’t something you’d get at the average undertakers, is it? Looks like someone built it out of papier-mâché to be honest. The transfer to DVD is awful and the sound leaves a lot to be desired. The cast look wrong, the dialogue is terrible and the acting poor.

The least said about the oatmeal burn mark later in the film the better, but the flick does have one thing going for it; a true earnestness. Not enough, unfortunately, to save it from being a denizen of movie hell, but something at least. 1 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

1 comment:

James Willis said...

I am the producer and co-writer of "The Dreaded". I produced the film when I was 20 years old in 1990. I have learned so much from my early productions especially about film distribution. We lost our investment in "The Dreaded" because, in my opinion, the distributor, Peacock Films of Los Angeles never intended to abide by their own contract. We lost thousands of dollars we put into the film while it has been distributed all over the world. The real "blood suckers" in this world are the distributors who feed off the small film producer. No one has had a contract to distribute "The Dreaded" since 2007. If anyone knows of any company releasing the film on video, DVD, or broadcasting the film on any network or station I would very much appreciate being contacted at Thank you.