Dead End Review

Movie: Dead End
By: CandleCove
Date: February 19, 2012

Read the signs

My Dad told me about the urban legend about the hitch hiker when I was a kid. I think most people know it: man picks up a young girl, girl tells her adress, but then vanishes. Man returns an item she left in the car, only to be told that she died years ago in a tragic car accident. And that was what I thought this move was about when I first watched it. The woman the family offers a ride is the perfect example of the ghost from that legend. Then, when people started dying, I thought it was a regular slasher film. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just that I have watched so many of them that I don't find them interesting anymore. People take the wrong turn, gets stalked and killed by a crazy person, credits begins to roll. It's boring and it repetitive.

But that thankfully isn't what this movie is about. I'm almost ashamed to say that it took me a good while to understand the plot. I guess I was too distracted by the rampant jokes about homosexuality. The dialogue throughout the move made me laugh, and I was actually a bit sad when the teenage boy died. I kinda liked that character. Bickering between the family members is a bit cheesy, and I'm not sure if it was intentional or not, but it serves some comedic relief. And honestly, I'm a bit immature, so I loved the YMCA-joke. The plot itself is very simple. There is no insane twists and turns, but it isn't predictable, as you don't really know what will happen in the end. It was made with a low budget, a small cast (Ray Wise and Lin Shaye were amazing) and not a lot of locations. And this is how it should be. A plot like this doesn't need a lot of fluff or a big budget. The way the characters reacts to the events that unfolds seems realistic, and the crude humour is appropriate, given the circumstances.


I have grown tired of characters that almost insists on being killed, instead of trying to get away, as normal non-braindamaged people would. The music is minimalistic, but well chosen. I expected the movie to involve a lot of gore, but even though this is a movie where the basic premise is that a family gets murdered while driving down a road, there isn't much. Dead End showed me that there is still people who can figure out who to make a good horror movie and keep it simple while doing it. The scariest parts is the things we never see. The corpses on the road, the implication of their hallucinations, and the uncertainty. The baby carriage on the road was a nice touch. It was creepy in itself, but the fact that it re-appeared as soon as they turned their backs were even creepier. I would be just as freaked out as the characters were if a baby carriage seemed to live its own life, and I would probably be on the verge of a total breakdown if I walked through the forest to get away, only to end up at my car once again (at the other side of the road, which isn't possible), where someone in the meantime had turned on the head lights. I find this movie a bit creepier every time I watch it, as I catch new hints and details that I didn't think about before. I'm caught a bit off-guard by the symbolism each time. I never made a connection to the black car and Death before the second time I watched it, but I should have. When I realised it, the final scene where the man in the black suit takes doctor Marcott for a ride in his hearse suddenly gets a bit .... well, the implication isn't exactly nice.


I know that some people feels like it not a good horror movie unless it outright scary, but I disagree. For me, at least, the general atmosphere is much more important. The dark woods, the radio playing the warped sound of a baby crying, and not knowing why the black car shows up, or who is in it. I genuinly felt uneasy when the radio started playing. But maybe that's just because I don't really like dead babies. I don't know.


I think the movie could have been better if the ending was different, even though it made me wonder what actually happened. It seems a bit out of place, but at the same time, it offers an alternative explanation. It's curious that the man who reported the accident is driving the exact same car as the one who takes them away for a brief period before dumping their corpses on the road, in the condition they would be in after the accident. This could mean that the this was something the daughter was dreaming while being in a coma, but it seems like a bit of leap.


My favourite scene is where the daughter gets out of the car, after having finally given up when the car ran out of gas, and discovers her family laying in body bags on the road in a neat line. But I must admit, the scene that shows if you let the credits run for a bit adds another layer of creepy. Finding the note shouldn't be possible, as the father would have been dead by that time. They could have cut if off right after they showed a replay of the car crash, and you would probably have come to the same conclusion so many others have come to. That is, that the whole point of it was that they relived their deaths, caught between this world and the afterlife, along with the (rather vengeful) lady in white.



Dead End


Dead End


John-Baptiste Andrea, Fabrice Canepa






Ray Wise, lin Shaye, Mick Cain, Alexandra Holden