A couple of teenagers are going out to a secluded house with a youth counseling group because or their new so called "isolation program". But these teenagers run into bigger troubles than what they already had - in form of a demon.
This is another one of those films I probably wouldn't have been aware of hadn't it been for our good friend James DePaolo who might be one of the most active bloggers out there, and one hell of a promoter once he finds something he likes. I figured since I consider "Evil Dead" to be one of the best movies ever made, I had to check this one out. There are a number of films inspired by "Evil Dead" and it's very understandable why - it's a perfect concept for a low-budget production. You don't need a solid, worked-out plot to have fun in a cabin in the woods. But everyone knows "Evil Dead" did something right because it's a downright masterpiece, and that little something is exactly what most films attempting it fails to have. "Dead/Undead" is clearly inspired to the max by "Evil Dead", but it's not one of the failures.
A youth counselor has started an isolation program and takes a few troubled teenagers out to a house to get them away from all of their problems for a while. And then there's the demon. I won't go into what he is or why he's there, all you need to know is that he will turn them into zombies or similar (vampires) if attacked, and I can assure you that they are! The most interesting part about the film, I thought, was how the zombies were portrayed. They're not really the slow, rotten, numbskulls - they actually talk, and with their usual voices. They're smarter than regular zombies as well, but some of the "origin" qualities that Romero introduced are still there. And yes, I would consider them zombies, unlike "Evil Dead" which I call demons.
It's obvious from the getgo that this is a comedic film, and while I can't say that it ever made me laugh out loud, it has a few humorous moments that work. The thing is that the comedy isn't always present - it's not a full-blown comedy like "Dead & Breakfast" (why is that the first one I thought of? Because it's awesome and for some reason I was reminded of it by this movie) so it's okay that the jokes aren't always top class. But there are some moments that made me chuckle because of how random it seemed.
The movie doesn't stress to get to the action, it takes its time to set the mood and make us understand what we are watching, which in this case was good. A film like "Evil Dead" managed to bring it on early and it's easy for filmmaker to assume anyone can do that, but you often need time to appreciate a movie outside of just the gore/violence. This film worked on that level simply because it's way more well-acted than I had expected it to be. A lot in this movie is clearly indie and low-budget, but the acting is something that I thought worked through-out. No real issues on that end at all. Although I do think one of them stole the laugh from Brad Pitt in "Fight Club". Mildly irritated me, but that's one of those tiny things that doesn't matter.
Even though this is so clearly an indie production, it manages to work around the issues. The budget was a tiny $1000 and that obviously created some obstacles. But by filming night scenes in daylight, having 4 directors handling cameras, etc. it all worked out well in the end. And the zombies/demons aren't always great looking but the big finale was very entertaining it all its blood-and-white-body-fluid splatter. I do wish the rest of the horror scenes would've been as entertaining as the ending was but it's still solid enough.
"Dead/Undead" is one of those films that is very likely to be remembered by just a small group of people - yes, I'm saying this will be a cult film. And I mean a cult film in the true sense, where it's really just a few who know about it, and those few love it. It's far from a perfect movie, but it's an impressive effort if you consider what they had to go through, and there are way worse "Evil Dead" impersonators out there. The comedy isn't rock solid but it managed to make me chuckle at least, and luckily it didn't seem like the focus was put on the comedy. The monster action is alright but the ending especially is a blast. Recommended if you just want a simple, fun, cheap movie.