DIRECTOR Philip Adrian Booth WRITER Philip Adrian Booth STARS Ray Wise, Ben Browder, Elle Lamont DIGITAL 9 February
Dead Still comes from SyFy, the low-budget studio and satellite channel infamous for pitching super-sized animals against each other. And while Dead Still isn’t quite in the barrel-scraping territory of their previous offerings such as Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus, this is still a generic and mostly poor effort that offers very little in both style and execution. Shot on digital video with a no-name cast and a truly dreadful synthesiser score, it looks and sounds cheap. Typical SyFy fare. Should you find yourself sprawled on the sofa late at night and it turns up on the tube you might wish to turn an eye to the screen, but to pay good cash and own a copy would be mistake.
Photographer Brandon inherits a Victorian camera that has been used to photograph the dead — a genuine practice of the era — and is now haunted by their spirits. When he snaps his subjects they begin to die, reappear as odd portraits, and start to terrorise his close family. Writer-director team the Booth Brothers never bother to explain why a modern-day photographer would start using a Box Brownie, but still, this does offer a first half with some entertainingly gory deaths. The story drifts into the absurd as Brandon’s son is trapped within the camera and enters another dimension filled with sub-standard creatures that appear to have wandered in from a video game. It’s an idea that could have worked in the hands of say, Guillermo Del Toro, but the Booths are far from the A-league, and remain content to throw one disconnected scene after another with no care for the narrative. The obligatory twist ending can be predicted long before the reveal, but by the time it comes the audience will have long lost interest.