As an avid film lover, there is never a night that there is not something playing in my room. Sometimes I have it as background noise, and other times I just want to kick back and relax. Ninety-nine percent of the films I take in are in my favorite genre of horror, and there is rarely a shortage of those films. The problem is that there is a shortage of good films and I feel like I have seen them all for better or for worse. When I started streaming Dead Body, I thought it would not be much more than some background noise while I worked, but I quickly found myself distracted by a film much more captivating than anyone could guess.
There is nothing genre-defying about Dead Body. In fact, I would say it is your run of the mill slasher with a twist of a murder mystery. It’s like Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, except with a lot more blood. The synopsis couldn’t sound more generic; A group of kids at a cabin in the woods start getting picked off one by one. Is this the work of a deranged stranger or is the killer one of them? The idea sounds so dull and generic, but sometimes a group of people can come along and make something new out of old parts, and I think that is exactly what happened here.
A quick search of the IMDB page for this direct to video project shows you just how amateurish (not in a bad way) Dead Body is. There is only one actor on the entire page that even has a headshot. Still, one of the reasons that I wanted to review this movie was because of how surprised I was at the acting in a movie of this caliber. Usually for low-budget horror films, you get a bunch of monotone performances from film school dropouts and porn stars trying to make it in mainstream movies. There is a fair number of tense moments with the cast arguing amongst themselves as to who the killer is and the tensions never feel forced. Emotions often shine through each character’s personalities both of which are rare treats in a B-movie.
The special effects department wasn’t asked to do anything extremely challenging in this film. Most of the effects are practical, but they work. They work so well, in fact, that Dead Body won an award for their special effects from the New York City Horror Film Festival. Though there are a few scenes where we see mangled carcasses, for the most part, there is just well-placed blood on otherwise untouched bodies or soaking the hands of those characters who found the victims. There is one scene that I will say probably won them the award by itself, when one of the victims finds themselves doing a Pinhead impression.
I’m not trying to put this film on too high of a pedestal, but there are far worse films than this one which try to pull off exactly what Dead Body does. While they offer plenty of clues as to who the killer is, it would take a regular Sherlock Holmes to figure it out before the final act. If you love the thrill of a murder mystery and don’t mind the gore of a horror movie, Dead Body is a surprisingly must-see film that coasted way under the radar. Coming across a movie as decent as this one is probably about as rare as coming across a dead body.