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DEAD LOVE (2018)

Directed by Colin Floom, Greg Nemer
Written by Emanuel Isler, Chad Israel
Starring Grayson Low, Nicole Elizabeth Olson, Kate Linder, Katharyn Grant, Elias Harger, Bob Buckley, Deborah Curtis, Tim Fishbaugh

There’s a lot to like about DEAD LOVE, a twisted story that somehow charmingly combines ONCE with cannibalism and eternal youth. While there are some pacing issues, the film as a whole left me with a feeling of seeing something quite fresh and new—a feeling that isn’t often very familiar with horror these days.

Brandon (Grayson Low) is overwrought with grief and guilt upon learning of his mother’s suicide. When the funeral director decides the give Brandon a break on the hefty costs of burial, he has no idea that the director’s sister Fiona (Nicole Elizabeth Olson) has devious plans for him. Attending dinner as payback for the kind gesture, Fiona serenade’s Brandon (himself a songwriter and musician) with a mystic song and the two begin falling for one another. But shady business is afoot and the grief-stricken Brandon becomes the pawn in a deadly game that has spanned ages.

Without giving too much away, things get gross in the latter portion, but there’s quite a long wait until that happens. This is going to frustrate some and while I found myself wrapped up in Low and Olson’s likable performances, I too found myself wanting to get to the bottom of the mystery. Instead the film seems to be more interested in making us believe the two are falling in love with each other. Much of the film consists of people talking ominously and slowly, intermixed with some truly enchanting musical pieces (both Low and Olson have fantastic voices) and some ominous dream sequences involving Brandon himself committing suicide. The pace quickens a bit in the last twenty minutes, but I fear some with a heavy fast forwarding finger might have already tuned out by then. If you stick to the end, there are some gruesome revelations (though there is a lengthy exposition drop that allows the viewer to piece the whole thing together long before Brandon does) and an ending that I found to be downright poetic.

DEAD LOVE is an atypical thriller, not afraid to get gory, but takes it’s sweet time in doing so. It’s a refreshing type of film in that it can’t really be pigeonholed in the much cliched horror genre. DEAD LOVE is not going to be for everyone, but the combination of likable characters, attention grabbing songs, and late in the game twists grabbed me. Those looking for unconventional horror are going to be surprised by DEAD LOVE.

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