Dead and Gone Review

Dead and Gone (2008)

Starring: Quentin Jones, Gillian Shure, Ben Moody
Directed by: Yossi Sasson

The Premise

Jilted and disgruntled trophy husband, Jack Wade, steals away to the back woods with his comatose wife with the intentions of killing her and collecting the life insurance money he feels he's more than entitled to. Unfortunately, soon his plan backfires when he can't tell if he's being haunted or going insane all while trying to keep his secret just that.

The First Stitches

The movie begins with a shot of an artificial crescent moon and a mellow country tune. The camera drops to show an artificial cottage in the mountains (it's basically a cartoon-ish first shot). It zooms in to the interior where we see a record spinning. A man stands facing away from the camera, turning to speak to the bound and gagged redhead sitting in the chair near him. He reminds her it was their favorite song --their baby making song-- as he loads a revolver. He promises her he will make it quick as he steps into a nearby room and shots are fired. He comes back to her, shots are fired. He sits down in a nearby chair, hesitates, then swallows the barrel.

Cut to 40 years later, we see our main character, Jack Wade (Quentin Jones), griping at the mover about fees as he walks out of the cabin from the cryptic opening. He unwillingly shells out $600 cash to keep his anonymity as his wife's care worker, Nurse Clark (played by the lovely Marilyn Ghigliotti) steps in demanding her two weeks back pay. This time he writes a check. When Nurse Clark finally leaves with the moving van driver, Jack drops down on the porch of their new "home", remarking on their new found red-neckery. It then cuts to that night as he sits in a rocking chair, venting his frustrations and hatred toward his unconscious wife.

Mending the Seams

Plot: One thing I liked about this movie was the overall story. I actually got a bit of a Secret Window meets The Tell-Tale Heart kind of vibe from the narrative. From the beginning we already know Jack is up to no good, we know he is there to try to collect money, we essentially know Jack is more butt hurt than your average trophy spouse. As he comes closer to his breaking point his mind rapidly deteriorates; he begins to see his wife, constantly taunting him as a spirit caught in the between (coma, remember?). When he finally goes off the deep end, the things he sees begin to change based on his actions, his perceptions become his major downfall. A healthy mix of haunting and psychosis brings the story together in the end.

Characters: I didn't have too many issues with the characters in this movie. I liked Jack as he slowly descends into madness, Frankie and Nurse Clark close on his heels. Another character I enjoyed was Booger (played by ex-Evanescence guitarist, Ben Moody). He was a bit awkward, but I get it, that's his shtick. It was a bit goofy, but overall, as a minor comic relief, he wasn't bad. I wasn't too fond of his brother, Moss, though. This character just seemed a bit too over the top in trying to be the butt-raping, inbred, hillbilly stereotype.

To end this on a positive note, though, my favorite part of the movie has to be the Zack Ward and Kyle Gass cameos. During Jack's descent, they appear at separate instances when he's particularly vulnerable. Each time taunting or instructing; pushing him further into madness and depravity. I really liked Kyle Gass's ham-fisted preacher, but in the end, Zack's goofy weatherman really took the gag home. Note to self: Watch Postal again...

"It's over there on the shelf...I mean, Gooooooo, Wildcats!"
Erm, thanks...*ahem*

Setting/Atmosphere: As a whole, I dig the setting of the movie. I liked the outdoorsy feel and the somewhat isolated feeling that comes with it. My favorite scenery, though, was the cabin interior. The dirty grey design is occasionally accented by a sickly green back-lighting that gives it the feel of a nauseating dementia. Even by itself, the muted grey tones give the cabin an almost prison-like atmosphere, which is more than appropriate for Jack's situation.

Special Effects: While the effects in this movie were on the low budget side, they really did a good job on some parts, like the previously mentioned Zack Ward cameo. The majority of the makeup effects were rather nice as well, specifically the post-mortem effects on the ghosts, like Frankie and Nurse Clarke in the latter parts of the film.

Music/Audio: I actually enjoyed this movie's soundtrack, from the country tune in the beginning to the prominent violins in the third act chase scene. This was a category I feel this movie rather excelled in. Each cue seems to go well to perfect with its scene and really, sometimes even something as small as a good audio cue can make a whole world of difference to a movie. Bonus: After a littler research, I found that interesting little tune is titled "Forty Years of Pain" and was written by veteran Music Supervisor Harry Shannon, who was also the writer of the movie (he has a cameo at the end as well). There's a pretty good cover of the song by Kyle Gass's band, Trainwreck. Unfortunately, as per wikipedia, they are currently no longer together.

The Binding Stitch

In the time that I've finally gotten around to fully watching this film, it's becoming one of my rainy day favorites. With a well-paced story and a pretty decent set of cast members, this movie is overall put together well and very deserving of at least one viewing. If nothing else, put it on your bucket list and give it a shot the next time you're just not sure what you want to watch. And don't be surprised if you actually like it...because you only think you're alone.

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