Thursday, July 7, 2011

Radio Zombies: Dead Air

Wait- didn't I already review this movie?  Back in mid-May, I reviewed the internet-sensation known as Pontypool, a film that I bought for $3 from a closing Blockbuster location.  It was good- really weird, but good.  Around the time I actually reviewed the movie, I stumbled across today's film- Dead Air.  It's essentially the same film, just made in America instead of Canada.  On top of that, this story adds some new elements- for better or for worse- and expands the cast a bit.  Here's the thing- it's not billed as 'America's Pontypool.'  They don't address it, nor do they credit the book in any way.  I'm sorry, but am I supposed to not be aware of the book or the film that inspired it?  It would be like The Asylum's War of the Worlds saying that it was an entirely-original film!  This doesn't mean that Dead Air has no merit to it.  If you want to know what's different between this film and Pontypool, read on.  Keep talking or else we'll have a lot of...
* Bill Mosely is the lead here, even having the same kind of goatee as Stephen McHattie.  Pop quiz: how many films does Bill have a goatee?  Do I even need more to prove my point?

* The unexplained virus affecting the town- it's a terrorist bio-weapon.  Oh yeah, it's no longer a town in Canada.  Instead, it's Los Angeles.  That's a minor change!
* Some people in the building do meet a grisly fate, but there's more of them in this film, allowing for more gore.  It's a bit less dramatic with five people trapped than with three though- I'm just saying.

* Remember how the zombie action is more implied in Pontypool?  You see all of it in Dead Air.  There's also a scene where the zombies attack a woman and her boob pops out.  Classy.
* For the Third Act, we get a new guest in the booth.  We also get a sub-plot involving the host's family.  Yeah, I don't recall that in Pontypool.

* I won't SPOIL it, but the Ending is more lazily-wrapped up than Pontypool.  It's still a bit dark, but a bit too neat.  The End.
It's like Deja Vu- American style!  The plot of this movie is about the same as Pontypool, just with a lot of minor changes.  The big thing is that the vague stuff is not vague, the implied stuff is shown and there is a key reason for everything.  On one hand, I do like seeing the action, knowing what happens in detail and seeing a lot of it.  On the other hand, Pontypool worked so effectively by allowing you to picture things.  Could the film have showed you the graphic, bloody death that it implied?  Not if it ever wanted to be shown anywhere, it couldn't have!  Dead Air is like the big brother's version of a story told by 'dad.'  Dad tells you a grand tale with lots of flourish and hints of subtlety where necessary.  A couple days later, your big brother retells the story with no subtlety and focuses on the lurid details.  Dead Air is not a bad film.  If seen on its own, it's a good, low-budget horror film.  Unfortunately, Pontypool is so neat and creative that excising all but the core plot just feels like a waste.  Take us away, Bush's Press Secretary who is apparently still working in 2008...
Next up, one of the most random and Meta films.  You will believe that a tire can love!  Stay tuned...

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