August 22, 2018 Dead Love (Movie Review)
There are many choices to make in this life. Where to live. What to eat. What profession to take on. Who to love. They are endless and sometimes no thought at all goes into the decision. The only thing that is certain is that one day death will come and close this chapter. Or so they say. What if love and death were more connected than originally thought? Pondering those very thoughts, the new film Dead Love hit VOD on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 through Wild Eye Releasing.
Originally titled A Song For The Living, co-directed by Colin Floom (For The Living 2016, The Truth About Bankruptcy 2018) and Greg Nemer (Unredeemable 2014, Pre-Nope 2016), Dead Love follows Brandon (Grayson Low: Wall of Glass 2017, Writer’s Workshop 2018), a typical momma’s boy. It has been just the two of them since his father died when Brandon was just a toddler. His quiet existence is shaken to the core when his mother suddenly commits suicide. For the first time in his life, he is all alone. He is numb, confused, and broke. He cannot even afford to bury her properly. Everything he has ever known is now being tested.
Fiona (Nicole Elizabeth Olson), her sister Caterina (Kate Linder: The Young and the Restless series, Mother’s Day 2016), and Caterina’s husband Lassiter (Bob Buckley) run a funeral pallor. Upon seeing Brandon and learning about his situation, Fiona is immediately enamored with him. The sisters are thrilled that Brandon has seemingly fallen into their laps. Fiona has chosen him to share in her darkest secret. He is the one. Caterina is thrilled that her sister has made her choice. Lassiter is the only one who does not welcome Brandon with open arms. In his darkest hour, what has Brandon unwittingly walked into? What is this big dramatic secret that Fiona wants to share with Brandon? Why him? Will Brandon accept it fully and willingly?
Death of a loved one is something that everyone must face at some point. There is no script to direct a person in how they should react and mourn. Low’s Brandon seems to walk through the film numb. He somehow feels completely disconnected with everything happening on screen, even though he is at the center of it all. This is acceptable to a point. There is no reference to how he was before his mother died. Maybe numb is simply part of his grieving process.
The biggest issue, though, is while there is empathy to be had with Low’s character because of his loss, that is where it ends. He was close to his mother and he sings. Nothing more is ever revealed about him. He does not seem to have a personality outside of losing his mother. That is just not enough to root for him to make the right choices and continue on with his life – his living life. The viewer deserves more from him. A true reaction that is not just blank acceptance of what is happening to him. It never comes.
Buckey’s Lassiter is the only bright spot in the entire film. He is the eccentric old man that knows a bit about everything and can do a bit of anything successfully. There is darkness in him, though, that stems from a deep pain and longing for something he simply cannot have. The juxtaposition of such a jovial man who takes pleasure in small things with a strong obsession for Fiona is brilliant. The way he plays his character provides depth that the script lacks. It is not just the words he speaks, but in his body language and the light in his eyes that truly brings his character to life. It is difficult to be bored when he is on screen.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding Fiona and her family. For a viewer, a mystery should be fun and exciting. There should be anticipation building as each new clue is revealed. Unfortunately, Dead Love does not succeed in engaging the viewer enough to even want to know what the big secret is. There is no real action, only the words of flat characters to move the plot along. A dialogue based film with little action can work, but when the characters are so vague and anorexic with substance it only leaves the viewer wishing for the credits to roll quickly. This becomes especially true when the big reveal is spoken. It is so watered down and confusing that the viewer will feel cheated out of time. Finesse does not exist where it would have absolutely saved everything.
There are many choices to make in life and in creating a film. Interesting characters and a solid basis are key in order to be successful. Dead Love has neither. Life is also a riddle that everyone must try to solve before time runs out. Unfortunately for those connected to Dead Love, the final solution was less than satisfying. The choices made were not the correct ones. It is for these reasons that CrypticRock give Dead Love 2.5 out of 5 stars.