‘Dead’ Review: A funny and gripping horror-comedy about the misadventures of a stoner and a gay ghost cop
Spoilers for 'Dead'
Actor-director Hayden J Weal’s latest movie ‘Dead’ brings to you the rare combination of a marijuana smoker Dane Marbeck aka Marbles, essayed by Thomas Sainsbury and cop ghost Tagg, played by Weal himself as they embark on a journey to find a mysterious hooded figure who has wreaked havoc in one too many lives. Although dubbed as a horror-comedy, ‘Dead’ holds within itself various other aspects that keep you engaged throughout the 90 minutes of runtime.
Tagg, a wannabe cop, wakes up in an abandoned farm to find himself clad in nothing but his underwear. Unsure of what happened to him or how he landed there, he decides to head home. However, it was only upon reaching his house and while calling his sister Yana (Tomai Ihaia), Tagg realizes that he’s dead and turned into a ghost. Meanwhile, Marbles, a stoner who harnesses the ability to communicate with dead people by using a strange combination of his deceased father’s neurological medication and weed, is seen acting as the mediator between an elderly woman and her husband’s spirit in order to help the latter’s soul pass over.
Tagg, who is aware of Marbles’ odd powers from one of their previous encounters, enlists the stoner’s help to trace down the serial killer who murdered him. Even though it takes the cop’s ghost many attempts to convince Marbles, he finally agrees to help his new ghost friend seek justice for his mysterious death.
The movie picks pace from here as the duo sets out on a task, determined to find the killer. However, their quest leads them to cross paths with several people and other ghosts. Soon, Marbles begins to develop feelings for Tagg’s sister, and eventually, it is revealed that Tagg is gay and one of the people who fell prey to the killer was his former lover.
As the movie progresses, we come across more characters, such as Marbles’ self-absorbed mother Janine (Jennifer Ward-Lealand) and Henna (Jess Sayer), his former love interest whose love for her dead mother drives her to indulge in unimaginable actions. The plotline comprises of a couple of twists and suspense but falls short to appeal consistently.
The story arc comes across slightly ambiguous as it nears the end. However, what acts as the defining factor for ‘Dead’ is definitely the unflinching acting by Weal and Sainsbury. Marbles isn't naturally funny, but anything he does somehow cracks you up. He’s naive and emotional, whose only purpose in life is to get stoned out of his senses and help spirits pass over in order to make some money that can help him acquire his father’s farm which his mother plans on selling. It seems like the character was tailor-made for the actor, as you can’t help but sympathize with his life. Meanwhile, Weal as a helpless cop also delivers an impactful performance.
Unlike other comedy-horrors that specifically meet the requirements of the defined genre, ‘Dead’ comes with underlying stories that make it stand out. There’s romance, violence, nostalgia, and more making the overall movie a compelling watch. One may not like ‘Dead’ if it’s deduced purely based on its story arc. However, its various elements ensure you don’t relapse into boredom and you would stick around until the end to at least to witness Marbles' and Tagg’s fate, if not for anything else.
‘Dead’ is available to stream on-demand starting September 25.