scared from the very beginning on this one.
scared because of the quality of the script, or the skill of the
I'm scared right before I even took the video out of the box.
because of five little words at the bottom of the box, in very small
print, that you need to strain to see. And not "Lions
Gate Home Entertainment
production," either, scary as that usually is.
because of this:
by Stephen J. Cannell."
guy who brought us fifty billion hackneyed crime dramas
decided that, somehow, he just wasn't hitting his stride on stuff
Hardcastle and McCormick, so why not take a crack at horror?
the select cursor on the title screen is a pentagram. That
automatically loses points with me. Anyone dumb enough to
use this tired,
hackneyed plot device in a menu select screen just doesn't merit
from me. Stop using the pentagrams-puerile, pointless blasphemy
like that is
like a four year old running around screaming the opening rap from
Silent Bob Strike Back at the top of his lungs. It's just
plain disrespect to
these obvious problems, you know we've got a real winner on our
hands, though what it wins is a big plaque laden with profanities.
we have here is the story of Jeff Lucas, a future Columbine Award
from somewhere called Bay City. Jeff isn't what you'd call
a popular kid, and
the local popular kids seem to have forgotten the numerous lessons
shootings and have marked Jeff for all the torment they can dish
get even worse for Jeff after he makes a horror movie instead of
in his Communications class.
kids decide to take matters into their own hands for reasons that
defy the logic of anyone with more firing brain cells than your
average jar of
mayonnaise, and engage Jeff in a little vehicular homicide, running
him off the
road in the midst of a high-speed chase.
And if you
think Jeff is taking his flaming death amidst twisted metal lying
down, well, you don't watch very many horror movies, now do you?
believe, genuinely, that bullying of this stripe keeps going on
schools. Does nobody catch on? Does no one stop and
think, "Hey, today's
picked-on no-name is tomorrow's mass murderer, with me on the bad
end of their
daddy's gun barrel?" Okay, never mind that Jeffy's got
a head like Pinhead in
that Jeffy's entire personality seems to waver wildly between
"nihilism" and "gleeful in a Dungeons and Dragons
sort of sense."
that Jeffy really does need a severe beating rather desperately,
this is from a fellow movie geek and high school popular kid target.
that Jeffy's movie, what little I saw of it, would get precisely
stars from me. In fact, my review of his schlocktacular title
choice phraseology like "the worst of low-budget crap"
and "patently idiotic."
even more that the incredible doofus they hired to do Jeffy acts
roughly the same way Richard Horvitz does when doing Invader Zim,
isn't supposed to be a parody. Jeffy's over-the-top delivery
overblown lines like "You will all taste the axe of reckoning!"
totally unacceptable! You...are...about nothing. Mr. Haddon.
Your end is nigh!
You will die on the seventh equinox of maven!" just shows me
how truly desperate
Cannell was to drive this particular point home:
is a dark and sinister little goon who will be trying to kill a
bunch of people before the end of the movie, if he doesn't get his
and sent home to his mommy with a really horrific wedgie first."
just never mind this entire movie, unless you're really interested
laughing your way through the most hackneyed of dialogues and infantile
acting, if it can even be called acting. And check him out
at the twenty five
minute mark--he sounds like he's lip-synching to a Danzig soundtrack--screaming
gutturally for a full minute.
is exactly what you'd expect from a movie like this, no more, no
features are nonexistent. There's not so much as a subtitle
deleted scene to be had in the whole mess.
All in all,
as a comedy, Dead Above Ground satisfies immensely thanks to
Cannell's fantastically overblown dialogue and the virtually utterly
cast's incredible ability for puerile acting. As a horror
movie, however, this
wouldn't scare a nun. Look elsewhere to get your heart pounding.
Stephen J. Cannell
Corbin Bernsen .... Mark Mallory
Stephen J. Cannell .... Mr. Haddon
Robert Conrad .... Reed Wilson
Adria Dawn .... Zara
Tony Denman .... Bobby "Monster" Mooley
Adam Frost .... Chip Palmer
Lauren German .... Darcy Peters
Reagan Gomez-Preston ... Latrisha McDermont
Lisa Ann Hadley ... Dr. Brenda Boone
Josh Hammond .... Jeff Lucas
Craig Kirkwood .... Jason Johnson
Cindy Margolis ... Kari McClure Mallory
Don Michael Paul .... Tom Bradley
Kelly Britton .... Keri Lynn Pratt
Antonio Sabato Jr. .... Sergeant Dan DeSousa
Charlie Weber .... Dillon Johnson
GRADE: 2-1/2 stars