The opening scene of "Deathdream" is set at night in the midst of the
Vietnam War. The viewer witnesses a young soldier get shot. Next we see
an American family having dinner. They haven't heard from Andy, their
son in Vietnam, and are trying to cope with this. In the middle of
their dinner, they get the news that he has been killed in battle. The
grieving process begins. But Andy comes home in the middle of the
night! They assume that the messenger was mistaken and celebrate their
son's return. However, Andy is very different to them--he is ostensibly
emotionless and doesn't say much. And he's a little pale. And more than
a little violent.
***slight plot spoilers ahead, though not anything you don't know from reading the plot summary or the back of the DVD***
This has to be one of the most depressing horror movies I've seen. I suppose it could be classified as a zombie movie (even though there is only one "zombie"), and in the tradition of NOTLD, this one has a message. Everyone knows someone who returned from war a different person. Not only is Andy emotionally numb, he also needs to kill in order to "survive," just as he did while he was at war. The family, which was fragile before his return, is now completely torn apart. The dad drinks, mom is in denial, sis insists on making things like "the good ole days," and they all fight about Andy, who has nothing much to say at all.
***slight plot spoilers over***
This low-budge production has a made-for-TV feel, but it isn't by any means a bad movie. The performances are mostly great. There are some amusing events and dialogue that seem somewhat out of place, but I was thankful for the comic relief. There are also some cheesy and overdone elements, but they don't affect the movie too much. There is also the "killer's viewpoint" camera-work (which Bob Clark also uses in Black Christmas), that became staples of 80s slashers. The climax seems absurd, but that is only because with all the melodrama, it is easy to forget that this is a horror movie! The final sequence is heartbreaking. I highly recommend Deathdream to anyone who thinks that horror movies are only for escapism and have no other value, and everyone who already knows that this isn't true. My rating: 8/10
Dead of Night
Dead of Night
A young Soldier is killed in the line of duty in Vietnam. That same night, the soldier returns home, brought back by his Mother's wishes that he "Don't Die"! Upon his Return, Andy sits in his room, refusing to see his friends or family, venturing out only at night. The Vampiric horror is secondary to the terror that comes from the disintegration of a typical American family.
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April 29, 2016 at 01:19 AM