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Overall Rating

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Worth A Look: 9.09%
Average: 9.09%
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Total Crap81.82%

1 review, 5 user ratings

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Dead Hate the Living!, The
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by David Hollands

"A 'hip' zombie film that sucks. What a surprise."
1 stars

Dave Parker's The Dead Hate the Living! is easily one of the absolute worst films to ever smudge a rental store shelf. The sheer inanity of this flick is absolutely mind boggling, and what's even more appalling is that the filmmakers appear to have this really strange belief that their film is smart and original. Trust me, when a film is already this bad, you definitely don't want to treat it as something of a Godsend, because it then becomes even worse.

The film involves a band of amateur filmmakers using an abandoned hospital in which to film their first low budget feature: a zombie film. While in the hospital, they come upon a body inside a strange coffin-like case attached to a series of technical machines. Upon activating the machine, they become trapped in an alternate dimension, filled (and by filled, I mean about five extras in bad makeup) with the living dead.

If I at all made this film sound in any way interesting, I apologize. Believe me, this movie is about as interesting or as entertaining as a bucket of paint. For one, it is yet another film in a very long line of self-referential horror movies that attempt to use the characters' knowledge of horror films in order to achieve a hip atmosphere meant to put the film on a higher pedestal, impervious to common criticism. And just like every self-referential horror flick, it becomes nearly twice as horrible to experience, since it's simply rehashing every cliché it's supposed to be satirizing.

The audience begins to question certain things about the flick that would not have mattered otherwise. For one thing, the characters are supposedly zombie experts, yet never, until the film's inane conclusion that is, do they attempt hitting a zombie in the head, when it is the most effective method against them...something any serious zombie film aficionado would know. They naturally become separated at one point, when one group heads up a flight stairs and another group heads down a hallway (the flight of stairs being right beside this alternate path, of course)...they don't seem to remember that doing this will get them killed.

The film has a pace that would cause even snails to squirm with impatience. For the first hour of this movie, absolutely nothing of interest happens. Where any sensible filmmaking would know to attempt to achieve atmosphere and mood to get the tension or the humour going, Parker seems to be going for absolutely nothing. Either that, or he is simply incapable of giving his film a good pace. Most of the first hour is spent getting to know the characters. We are forced to sit back and listen to their dreams in life, or simply watch their current situation. Sadly, this mostly fails for the simple fact that these characters are easily the most annoying recently put into a film. They are absolute walking clichés: the ambitious yet foolish director, the director's sweet sister, the director's nasty b*tch of a sister, the on-set pot head, the hopeful actor, the special effects technician with delusions of grandeur, and finally, the kind, sweet goofy guy. Really, don't even try to get used to these characters, because you simply cannot

When the film actually does get going, it's mostly already over; yet really, this may just be the most boring ''mostly already over'' final thirty minutes of a film ever. The half-hour I referred to feels more like two full hours, because director Dave Parker has imposed upon his climax area an extremely sluggish, rigid style that simply screams visual boredom. The sequences have absolutely no tension at all when the zombies are on screen, because Parker is easily one of the most inept when creating suspense is concerned. He shoots this film as if it was an extremely low budget midnight television movie, and not even in a good way here. He never uses his low budget in creative ways, instead simply giving up and making as cheap looking a movie as possible.

It's pretty obvious that Parker and company were attempting to create a zombie film resembling the rather illogical style of an Italian horror film. They've, uh, really messed up because of that. Not a whole lot makes sense here. Why do zombies sometimes come through the portal, yet most times not? Why is the mad scientist still trying to reanimate his dead wife, when she appears to have already been inexplicably reanimated? How is it possible for people to apply make-up, roughly a two to three-hour process or even more, when there are zombies just outside the room in which this is happening trying to break through doors, the same style of doors that gave them absolutely no trouble beforehand. The movie is just filled with these logical loopholes, and it is a serious distraction.

Each performance is simply horrible, with most of the actors either being too fricken bland or too f*cking emotive. Especially poor is Eric Clawson as David Poe. He over-emotes like there's no tomorrow, as if he isn't even a part of any scene most of the time. It's an unbearably annoying thing to experience, and he's supposed to be the hero of the piece! Wendy Speake as David's sister is even worse, appearing to be a lot blander than even the blandest sandpaper. She can't even scream properly at times, and that's truly sad. Jaime Donahue is very sexy, yet even her sex appeal isn't worth anything in this mess. She's merely average, and when everything else here is horrible, that really can't be a very large register. The other actors are so horrible that I won't even mention here, cause that will be too much of a waste of time.

Even the special effects don't deliver. The zombies have an extremely distracting rubber-ish quality to them that never convinces or frightens. Facial expressions on the actors are rendered mute thanks to effects that simply do not go well with the zombie actors' faces. If that weren't enough, Dave Parker shoots the effects in such a way that the special effects just become all the more obvious. Cutaways to effects are choppy and poorly done, thanks to the awful editing by, well yeah, Dave Parker!

The effects simply reach an all-time low when computer generated images are used, and they are simply beyond all levels of the word excruciating. One will want to pluck his or her eyes out when watching these effects, as they are the kind that appear to have been done on a cheap PC. Fire never looks like fire, as the flames appear to come completely off the bodies they are supposed to be burning at one point. At another point, a zombie is shot in the head and CGI is used for that, in typically horrible fashion. And my goodness does the final shot of the film stink of crap, as it's one of the worst blue-screen matte effects I've ever had the misfortune of seeing. For crying out loud, the footage used for the matte background has obviously been taken from a videotape, as typical videotape print damage appears. And yeah, this is the shot Parker chooses to end his film with. Genius.

All in all, The Dead Hate the Living! is one of the worst movies I've seen in a long while. It is horribly directed, horribly shot, and just plain horribly executed. Really, it's simply an extremely horrible film. Apparently, the Dead hate the Living...yeah, and I hate this movie. Go figure.

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originally posted: 08/25/04 04:11:07
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User Comments

3/18/05 indrid cold Truly bad, and not bad in a good way like Evil Dead, Dead Alive, etc. 1 stars
10/18/04 Twylyth Teg Reviews more entertaining than movie, head zombie looks like Alferd Packer 1 stars
8/28/04 Al Guy Cheesy, campy, but also entertaining. I liked it. 4 stars
7/21/04 American Slasher Goddess So bad, it's not even funny 1 stars
9/16/03 Charles Tatum Parker's direction is better than his script 3 stars
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  25-Jan-2000 (R)



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