‘Lockdown won’t save you’
Dead Again is a 2020 British science-fiction horror feature film in which an alien viral infection suddenly turns earthlings into flesh-eating zombies.
Written, co-produced, photographed, directed and edited by Steven M. Smith (Scare Attraction; The Haunting of Borley Rectory; Doll House; Doll Cemetery; The Howling), the Rellik Films-Greenaway Entertainment production stars Tony Fadil (Scare Attraction; The Doll Master; House of Salem), Elliot Cable (Scare Attraction), Mark Wingett (War of the Dead; Doll House), Chris Monk and Sonera Angel.
Little Pitchfield is a sleepy rural village where crime is non-existent and Police Sergeant Cooper (Tony Fadil) is retiring out of boredom. He is sent a young recruit fresh out of police school, P.C. Bruce Brody (Elliot Cable) to take over his duties. However, all hell is about to break loose…
Notwithstanding the fact that the first footage in Dead Again is brief off-putting clips of inept politicians Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Emanuel Macron spouting on about the COVID-19 pandemic (recalling Charles Band’s opportunistically dire Corona Zombies), this is undoubtedly Steven M. Smith’s most agreeable and accomplished horror movie to date.
For starters, there is good-natured generational banter between the two coppers – played by Tony Fadil (as soon-to-retire weary Sergeant Cooper) and Elliot Cable (as by-the-rule book rookie P.C. Bruce Brody) – that sets up the comedic tone nicely. In particular, Cable seems to have got the tone of officialdom just right. Never mind that the police station in the rural village setting seems to be the back of a terrace house down an urban alleyway.
The slacker sergeant wistfully regales the recent recruit with a tale about a UFO sighting accompanied by a spate of thefts from every property in the village that occurred seventeen years previously on Guy Fawkes Night. Unbeknownst to the plodding pair, it seems that the aliens have now returned.
A kidnapped woman, a mutilated creature, a young couple of lovers investigating in the woods, an old bloke warning about the danger… It’s not long before a zombie siege ensues at the old manor house (a delightfully decrepit location) and that’s the set up for the rest of the action.
Clearly, the plot is certainly nothing original but the delivery is at least confident and brisk. Along the way, there’s suitably atmospheric synth accompaniment composed by Darren Wonnacott and some decent zombie makeup supervised by Isabella Larter.
As is often the case with many low budget productions nowadays, the short running time includes nine minutes of end credits to bolster it up to an acceptable 75-minutes. Granted it’s a cheeky approach and yet more welcome than including unnecessary filler footage that viewers have to sit through instead.
It’s hardly a spoiler to reveal that towards the rapidly impending end there’s some cheesy FX footage of the “total devastation and destruction” caused by huge alien spaceships besieging major cities. But given the obviously low budget and jocular tone of the proceedings beforehand, such as when film fan Sergeant Cooper gleefully expresses a desire to be like Ripley from Aliens, it’s hardly out of place.
Ignoring the hyperbolic press release tease that Dead Again is like “Hot Fuzz meets Shaun of the Dead” (why set up such comparisons for critics to easily dismiss?), it’s actually an enjoyably tongue-in-cheek low-budgeter that the cast, crew and Steven M. Smith can all be proud of.
Adrian J Smith, MOV!ES and MAN!A
Dead Again will be released around Halloween 2020.
Main cast and characters:
• Tony Fadil … Police Sergeant Shaun Cooper
• Elliot Cable … P.C. Bruce Brody
• Mark Wingett … Bob
• Chris Monk … Dan
• Sonera Angel … Katie
• Kit Pascoe … Ellen
• Primrose Bigwood … Judith
• Jimmy ‘The Bee’ Bennett … Billy
• Michelle Archer … Police Controller
• Silas Welsh … Running Alien Creature
• Jake Taviner … Eating Alien Creature
• Can Somer … Chasing Alien Creature
• Anastasia Cane … Lead Alien Creature
• Will Pryor … Bath Alien Creature
• Debbie Tarrier … Patrice
• Rad Brown … Smart Alien Creature
• Paul Durso … Boxing Alien Creature
• 75 minutes
Stills images are copyright © Gaz De Vere 2020