Dead Weight (2012) Review

The other day I was lucky enough to be invited to the premiere of post – apocalyptic indie horror thriller, Dead Weight. Written and directed by John Pata (Better Off Undead) and Adam Bartlett; the film stars Joe Belknap, Mary Lindberg, Aaron Christensen, Michelle Courvais, Sam Lenz, and Jess Ader.

“Seven hundred miles lie between Charlie and all that he has to live for. All that stands in his way is an apocalyptic viral outbreak, bands of malicious survivors, and perhaps more menacing, his own emotional burdens. Alongside his new-found traveling companions, Charlie must attempt to find a way to break his obsessions with the past or deal with the consequences of his decisions.”

Dead Weight is a character driven film with a sense of an impending threat and horror looming both in the background and within its characters throughout the entirety of the story. The movie relies heavily on the atmosphere it has created and the development of the characters to drive the narrative; and it accomplishes this in excellent fashion. It’s a film that’s less about the creatures on the outside and more about the monsters on the inside.

There was a definite chemistry on the set between the actors that showed in both in the film and the Q and A afterwards. It also had a fantastic score and, something that I know we all feel many movies are missing, a very effective ending.

For a small independent movie, most of the acting is pretty damn good. However, due to its budgetary restrictions and some of the untrained actors, the dialogue isn’t always delivered very well. Though these parts are easy to get over and don’t really distract you from the film itself.

Dead Weight is a low budget movie that knows its limitations and has benefited greatly from the community that helped create it. The film is a huge departure from John Pata’s previous short film Better Off Undead (which I highly recommend) as it is not a silly Troma-esque splatter fest, but instead a dark, unforgiving character piece. Pata and Bartlett prove you don’t need a lot of money or studio backing to make something good, but rather ambition, drive, and a good idea.

I honestly liked it more than half of the crap I see at the theatre or on DVD. Its release is planned for March/April of 2012 and it will be playing at film festivals and conventions around the country. I would definitely recommend trying to track this one down. You can learn more here.

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