A recently deceased cop (Tagg) needs the help of a stoner (Marbles) who can see ghosts to find an increasingly prolific serial killer who was responsible for Tagg’s death. Together their investigation sees them digging into each other’s past and entangles them in an increasingly complicated situation.
There’s a breezy quality to Dead as the film ambles along with a pace that emulates Marbles’ disposition. Some of the stoner humour was lost on this reviewer but the film’s sweet nature meant it was a perfectly watchable affair. The film is at its best as it explores the grief that etches onto its character by tragic events in their past. With ghosts in this world a temporary fixture, the relief felt by their presence is short lived and leads the film to have a surprising melancholy particularly as the narrative darkens and complicates.
The partnership of Thomas Sainsbury and Hayden J. Weal as writers, leads (the former is Marbles, the latter Tagg) and, in the case of Weal, director, benefits the film an easy chemistry between the two, whilst meaning there is a creative consistency here. There is a lot to charm a viewer in Dead (particularly a scene stealing turn from Tomai Ilhaia as Tagg’s foster sister) that it’s a shame that the pieces don’t all fit together. The folklore at the centre of the film is perhaps a tad too complex, there are one too many plot strands at play and so Sainsbury and Weal’s film never quite hits the heights the material could lead to. This, nevertheless, has cult classic written all over it and I imagine a segment of horror fans will come to cherish its unique taste on the ghost story subgenre.