10th Aug2020

‘Dead Again’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Tony Fadil, Elliot Cable, Mark Wingett, Sonera Angel, Elliot Cable, Primrose Bigwood, Jimmy ‘The Bee’ Bennett, Kit Pascoe, Anastasia Cane | Written and Directed by Steven M. Smith

Sometimes, not always but sometimes, a movie falls on your lap at the exact right moment, a movie that you may not have given the time of day because let’s be honest, you just hadn’t heard of it or maybe there was no one on the credit list that grabbed you; maybe it’s a genre that you personally feel is tired, done to death but just won’t go away. However on a day like today, maybe your just a little bit intrigued, when you read comments such as “A new Shaun of Dead” or maybe you spot a guy on the poster that makes you think “Woah that guy was on The Bill” OR maybe you just have shit all else to watch so why the hell not.

Sometimes… These movies are the ones you least expect and honestly you get so much more than you bargained for, they can turn into a cheeky little unexpected gem. Is Dead Again one such movie? Did it land on my lap on just the right day? Or did I just waste another 70-odd minutes of my life on a film I watched purely on the basis that Mark Wingett from The Bill was in it? (Oh shut up, we’ve all been there!)

Welcome to Little Pitchfield. A sleepy little country town that has very little crime, actually it has no crime and hasn’t had any for a good 16/17 years when that UFO dropped by. On this day we meet Police Sergeant Cooper (Tony Fadil) and it’s his last day as he gears up for retirement through absolute boredom. However this is a movie and in order to add plot and stuff and things we meet the new rookie Constable Brody (Elliot Cable) and Cooper is going to show him the ropes while dropping movie references all over the place. Again, though this is a movie, so we also need a deadly virus plague to advance the story and show Cooper that this might not just be his last day… it might be everybodys last day. Cue the random group of surviving strangers, a zombie horde (or is it?), a cranky old man with a meaty stockpile of weaponry and to my surprise a bloody brilliant final third of a movie that skirts the line of almost being epic – on what I assume was a tight budget!

I am going to start with my biggest positive here, because while for some movies this could be seen as a bit of a dig, this is absolutely not intended to be… Thank you writer and director Steven M. Smith for keeping Dead Again at a break neck 75 minutes. Once the movie gets really amped up there is no time to get bored and for a pandemic style zombie/alien virus movie that is imperative. You must know your audience, respect their attention span(s) and for the love of god don’t pussy foot about trying to hammer home world-building pish.

Tony Fadil and Elliot Cable are brilliant together and their banter just works on screen. Fadil does have this very British quality, in terms of his comedy delivery, towards the start of the movie; and rattling off old-school movie references as the “It’s my last day” older guy against the new upstart who just wants to make a name for himself just works. I loved watching these two play off each other and while the dialogue wasn’t AMAZING (and by the way it didn’t need to be) it was good enough to tickle my geek bone, keep me interested enough to see if they were going to pay of the punchline set up right at the beginning and, dare I say it, have me rooting for these guys.

It is super easy to make the Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Zombieland connections but I also find that to be pretty lazy as a reviewer. Plus I actually found Dead Again to live in its own space. OK, yes there are similarities but personally I found this to be different enough – a big part of this is down to the aforementioned 75 minute runtime, which spends the first half just happily moving along and then all of a sudden it turns into an all out action piece and the action is pretty bloody good! Nice effects work, nice cinematography and – given the budget – it doesn’t look that cheap to be honest. So fair play. The cast and crew should be really proud of what they made here.

Now, let me be honest, I have this really weird love for The Bill… to the point that whenever I interview a Brit for my podcast I scour their IMDb for a connection to the show. Here we have Mark Wingett who, outside of The Bill, has had a wonderfully diverse career. He is great in Dead Again, just having a whole bunch of fun and going for it.

Dead Again is a strong recommend for me. The comedy is great, all the roles are played well, the VFX and practical effects are above average for what I assume was low budget. When Dead Again turns into a pure action flick I found myself starting to get really invested and happily, for me, they paid of the jokey setup towards the end that unashamedly made me fist pump the air. There are a lot worse ways to spend your time than watching this flick (believe me I know) so please if you get a chance, check this movie out and give it all the love!


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