Shout! Factory // 2010 // 82 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 16th, 2011
You think you know vampires? Think again.
Okay. I thought again. I still know vampires. And I know what an entertaining vampire movie is. And you sir are no entertaining vampire movie.
In the seedy East End London criminal underworld, a sort-of-honest family man named Freddie Frankham (Craig Fairbrass) finds himself neck-deep in the affairs of a local gangster and his narcotic dealings with a mysterious Romanian. Freddie owns a popular nightclub, which the Romanian has taken an odd interest in -- because he's vampire.
Specifically, he's the vampire, a legendary fanged bad-ass named The Wolf and Freddie's nightclub happens to be located on a sacred burial ground, which grants him increased mojo, leaving Freddie and a random supporting cast to stand up to him and get their stab on.
It's difficult to escape the comparisons to From Dusk till Dawn, but Dead Cert is something that movie is not: boring. In an already-oversaturated vampire genre it takes a lot for a film to differentiate itself from the host of also-rans and as much as Dead Cert wants you to believe that it has the necessary juice, the truth is, this might be one of the lamest vamp efforts I've seen in a while.
Problem #1: Dead Cert is slow. The first vampire doesn't even show up until about an hour in. Before that, you're looking at lot of narrative wheel-spinning, most of it focused on the narcotics wheeling and dealing and general Brit bad guy toughness (which of course means f-bombs by the kiloton). We all know vampires are going to show up, but the film's slow burn up to the reveal is sucked of suspense because of this foreknowledge; the old guy issuing enigmatic warnings about an approaching danger is pointless since the disc cover informs us of what that danger is.
Problem #2: when the vampires finally do spring into action, it's not worth the wait. We've all seen what over-the-top horror movies can deliver as far as vampire action: exploding torsos; geysers of arterial spray; awesome, improvised weapons. Here, you get some modest bloodletting, a few shots of exotic dancers gnawing on gooey prosthetics and a guy repelling an attacking vampire with a picture of his family (?!)
Problem #3: actually, those first two are enough. Avoid this movie.
The Blu-ray is solid, sporting a very clean 2.40:1 widescreen, 1080p transfer. The clarity is high-end, making the picture quality easily the best thing about this otherwise soggy release. Audio is a mixed bag: it's a 7.1 Dolby Digital mix, but the quality comes across as bit scratchy in some spots. Extras include a 30-minute, standard-def making-of featurette and a commentary track.
The movie stinks, but it looks great, while stinking.
Guilty. Stay dead this time.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* 2.40:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* Dolby Digital 7.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Not Rated