DEAD END (2003) Reviews and overview

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‘Read the signs.’

Dead End is a 2003 French horror feature film written and directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa. The Sagittaire Films-Captain Movies production stars Ray WiseLin Shaye, Mick Cain, Alexandra Holden, Amber Smith and Billy Asher.


When a family en route to a Christmas Eve gathering decides to takes a shortcut down a wooded road, an eerie sequence of events signals trouble ahead. After nearly colliding with an oncoming car, father Frank (Ray Wise) picks up a ghostly hitchhiker (Amber Smith) and her infant child.

With the sudden appearance of their new passengers, the route becomes dark and treacherous — and the family’s numbers rapidly begin to dwindle in a series of seemingly connected, grisly roadside accidents…


“Great setting, good tension, creepy atmosphere, funny at times, minimal gore, good acting, and a nice ending.” Almost Fabulous

” …what the movie lacks in gore, it more than makes up for in sheer atmospheric unease. You can’t quite put your finger on what exactly is happening in the film, which keeps it unpredictable and therefore the viewer off balance. The movie is more about the mystery of its sinister setting…” Arrow in the Head

“For a movie about people driving in circles, they sure do lead us in with them with no pay-off. There are sudden scares, ridiculous plot devices and really badly done scenes that all led up to the “shocking” finale that was just so utterly predictable.” Cinema Crazed

” …this plot heavy fright flick creates believable dialogue and likeable characters so that the interactions seem real, allowing for emotional value. The performances of the actors are pretty darn good. Ray Wise, who fought the Creeper in Jeepers Creepers 2, leads the cast in an entertaining and engaging fashion.” Digital Retribution

“If everything in Dead End is to be taken at face value, Wise and Shaye are off the wall in all the right ways, and this movie is worth adding to your holiday horror watch list for their performances alone. Were it not stretched out to a feature-length runtime, the seemingly endless circles this movie goes in would be a bit more tolerable.” Horror Honeys

“Budget constraints probably forced their hand more than they would have wanted but the lack of budget has helped the duo bring out the best of a bad situation. Well-shot, with plenty of tension and lots of lurking menace, Dead End gives off a spooky vibe as soon as the proverbial hits the fan when the family are grounded along the road.” Popcorn Pictures

“Ray Wise brings charisma and cynicism as the head of the family, while Lin Shaye is a perfect foil who happens upon a moment of total insanity in the film which is delivered with jaw-dropping perfection. Dead End is a movie that comes highly recommended.” The Schlock Pit

“Playing out like an episode of Twilight ZoneDead End has a lot of good things going for it as it gets strong performances from its cast (Shaye is especially good and in scenes where she’s gone completely nutty her performance slips into agreeable camp and demented humour), has plenty of wacko set pieces…” The Video Graveyard

Cast and characters:

  • Ray Wise … Frank Harrington
  • Lin Shaye … Laura Harrington
  • Mick Cain … Richard Harrington
  • Alexandra Holden … Marion Harrington
  • William Rosenfeld … Brad Miller (as Billy Asher)
  • Amber Smith … Lady in White
  • Karen S. Gregan … Doctor
  • Sharon Madden … Nurse
  • Steve Valentine … Man in Black
  • Jimmie F. Skaggs … Worker #1 (as Jimmy Skaggs)
  • Clement Blake … Worker #2

Technical credits:

85 minutes | 1.85:1

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