The Dead Next Door appears to be tastefully done sans the obviously limited budget that was available to produce it. It may seem like an amateur home video at first but if you look deeply into the story, the characters, and the screenshots, you would undoubtedly conclude that it’s a full-length movie. Never mind how much was spent to create it. Never mind if everyone involved in the film worked on it free of charge.
It was Sam Raimi, who hid under the pseudonym ‘The Master Cylinder’, that produced The Dead Next Door by using a part of his payment from Evil Dead 2. The amount is not as much to begin with but director on the helm, J.R. Bookwalter, was able to maximize the budget.
The Dead Next Door opens up by the growing epidemic of zombies, poised to take over the planet. Half a decade later, humans still own control, but obviously have to do something to ditch the living corpses for good otherwise they will be able to successfully creep into the perfect world of humans.
To counter the problem, the government developed an elite squad of soldiers to keep the monsters in tow headed by Raimi (Pete Ferry), Mercer (Michael Grossi), and Kuller (Jolie Jackunas). But the problem does not end there. The zombie squad also has a religious cult, which believes that they have to protect and enable the zombies because they are punishments ordained by God, to wrestle.
Unfortunately, Mercer gets infected by the virus while he and the team are battling it out with the monsters in Ohio. Zombies seem to start becoming triumphant and that signals an immediate need for Scientists to develop a cure for the virus that creates the zombies in the first place.
Other members of the cast include Bogdan Pecic as Dr. Moulsson and Robert Kokai as Rev. Jones among others. It wasn’t coincidental that the main character is named Raimi. That was intentional. In fact, a number of other characters were also named after the big names in the horror and zombie film genre, including Savini, King, and Romero.
If you are looking for gore, you would not be disappointed with The Dead Next Door because it features gore galore alright. It also comes with an interesting scoring, also done by Bookwalter, which will keep you in your toes with every scene.
Director Bookwalter has shown great passion for his craft with this film. Moviemaking is definitely something he wants to do for a long time. His burning passion for movies threw in an interesting plot that is a must-see for every horror-loving individual. The Dead Next Door is a product of very low budget. What’s more if he’s given enough money to produce a riveting, engaging film of fright?
Director: J.R. Bookwalter
Cast: Bogdan Pecic, Peter Ferry, Jolie Jackunas, Michael Grossi, Robert Kokai
Being a fan of the TV show “Red Dwarf” I immediately thought for a moment that this was the episode of the same name from that series. Imagine my delight when it turned out I was wrong and what I was actually watching was a hugely low budget mid nineties sci fi about an alien that can take on any form…hand on, that IS an episode of Red Dwarf! Which at least was funny.
A group of interns who have been summoned deep into a forest to discover what they can about a recently fallen meteorite instead make the grisly discovery of a dead body , which then comes back to life and starts to give them no end of hassle for no good reason. It turns out that the body is merely the latest form of an alien that can replicate any creature it comes into contact with. Added to this there is a cartel of smugglers hanging out in the woods who are far from harmless themselves. In what is some ways a retelling of The Thing, soon none of them know who is the alien and all are terrified as it’s reign of destruction begins.
This low budget movie has a lot going for it and it’s a great shame therefore that this has the unfortunate effect of making the dodgy effects stand out even more. There is CGI but it does look a little like it came from the dark ages (or then 1980s as we like to call it) and while some of the practical effects are excellent again those that are less than special let the side down and bring down the overall feel of the movie.
The acting is as variable as you might expect, some scenes seem, extremely contrived and unfortunately because of this just become funny, however there are some genuinely well acted moments in the movie. It’s a pity the two best performers get killed off halfway through though. While it starts well with a nice build up of tension, the denouement where the remaining protagonists dress up like they are in The Matrix and go on a supposedly vengeful killing spree is so limp as to be completely laughable. And don’t even bother hoping for continuity because there frequently isn’t any.
Despite that, the film stays entertaining and manages to justify it’s running time. There’s a lot worse than this out there so give it a go and prepare to enjoy yourself. What production problems there are, are smoothed by the exuberance of the filmmakers and it’s having fun that counts!
Director: J.R. Bookwalter
Cast: Jennifer Huss, Ariauna Albright, Tom Hoover, James L. Edwards, Sasha Graham