Sunday, October 16, 2016

THE NEON DEAD is worth a look.

When it comes to low budget movies made by people who actually care about film I am very forgiving.  Low budget films obviously have more challenges and obstacles to overcome to get made and shown in the public eye.  I am a big believer in art through adversity.  The challenge and limitations from the lack of money and resources can inspire wonderful results.  THE EVIL DEAD is a terrific example of this.  I am always looking to low budget films for inspiration since I myself am part of the world of no budget film making.  I want more people to know about the good ones and get motivated to support these films and maybe make their own.  I am looking for horror movies that are not homages or at least influenced by THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.  I like that film but it has been too big of an influence on many horror films in the last 20 years or so.  There are so many horror film makers that seek to out shock that classic movie through the on screen suffering of characters that a new genre of horror was created.  Torture Porn.  You can't count the number of horror movies whose plot summary is about a group of young teens and twenty-somethings who go out to the middle of nowhere and become the victims of a crazed cannibal inbred family of yahoos.  I bet there are more movies about crazed cannibal inbred families than there are about Dracula and Frankenstein combined.  People looking for new ideas to be inspired by to create new kinds of horror need to limit their intake of such films unless they just like that kind of film.  I myself like the WRONG TURN movies for some reason.  But if you are looking for something new and different I would recommend THE NEON DEAD.

When Allison discovers a violent ghost in her house she calls Desmond and Jake, an amateur paranormal exterminating duo, to find out what is going on in her house.  The investigation leads our two ghost fighters to uncover the bigger problem of an interstellar demon trying to get to earth and destroy all life as we know it.

What I love is THE NEON DEAD's ambition.  This a small movie with big special effects designed to make this movie look and feel different than so many other horror films.  THE NEON DEAD has zombies but these zombies glowy grey eyes and are painted in grey that look like they would glow in black light.  The zombies actually side with our heroes and fight these robed undead wizards (At least I think they were the wizards.) that look like the Blind Dead but with glowing red eyes.  The zombies are used differently.  They aren't just stumbling around looking for brains or living flesh to eat.  That is part of the charm of THE NEON DEAD.  The creators are using old horror elements and doing something more with them.  I love the interstellar demon-thingy that is brought to life through the magic of stop-motion.  They don't just show it once or twice either.  There is a whole sword fight with it that is rather spectacular for a film like this.

The film has a lot of color to it.  Color is used to emphasize the supernatural world clouding the normal world we live in.  I like bold color in my fantasy horror films.  Films like this are eye candy and candy should be colorful.  Horror doesn't have to always be bland and ugly.  Bland tends to be forgettable and THE NEON DEAD is not forgettable.

At 120 minutes run time I will say that THE NEON DEAD is way too long.  There is a lot of story here that really could be trimmed down.  The script itself needed to be tighter focusing on the relationship between the main trio of Allison, Desmond and Jake.  Their newly formed friendship needs to be the foundation of the film.  They do try to do this but because there is so much going on with the details of the story that the characters never fully develop believable growth.  The film has too much talk.  Too much explanation.  NEON has a lot going on and the film feels the need to explain it all.  Its not necessary.  The result is that the film is kind of a slog to get through.  It is very unfortunate and will turn many people off from the film.  There is a lot of talent behind and in front of the camera that people should take notice of.

The other problem with the film is its lack of imagination with it's choice of camera angles.  Of course this is because of the limit of budget but even the dialogue scenes are mostly shot reverse shot in close ups and mediums with little change.  This confines the visual scope of the film adding to the film feeling slow even though there are a lot of different locations.  However, there are some good camera movement at times too especially with the sword fight that has the camera following smoothly around the actors capturing the excitement of the fight in every detail.

I recommend THE NEON DEAD.  You can learn what to and not to do with your next film.  You can tell that the makers love the horror genre and want to make something that stands out from the rest.  Be sure to stay to the very end for the stinger for the potential sequel.  I hope there is one.  I like what they are trying to do even if it isn't fully successful.  I want to know who that mummy guy was.  Don't know who I am talking about?  You are just going to have to see the film for yourself.


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