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September 2010

Dead Cert

cast: Craig Fairbrass, Billy Murray, Jason Flemyng, Steven Berkoff, Lisa McAllister, and Janet Montgomery

director: Steven Lawson

92 minutes (18) 2009
widescreen ratio 1.78:1
Momentum DVD Region 2 retail
[released 27 September]

RATING: 1/10
review by Jason Brawn

Dead Cert

Produced by Black and Blue Films, headed by Hammer enthusiast, Jonathan Sothcott and former pop star Martin Kemp, the premise of Dead Cert is interesting but that's all: gangsters versus vampires, but instead of action we get a slow build up to rather mundane story. There's far too much padding that goes on and on throughout the film, and the characters are not well-developed, nor are they convincing.

Craig Fairbrass, who plays the owner of a nightclub, is suited for the role but his character's dialogue is stilted. As for Dexter Fletcher, he is highly miscast as a murderous gangster. But, worst of all is Billy Murray, competing with Jason Statham for the Dick Van Dyke award for the worst accent - 'and the winner is Billy Murray.' And he doesn't look Romanian and is desperately trying to give Christopher Lee a run for his money, as the head vampire.

As for Steven Berkoff, he is wasted; a brilliant actor who must got paid very well. There are many recognisable faces, like Danny Dyer (who appears in a cameo), Ricky Grover, and Jason Flemyng, but the script is terrible and the direction is extremely weak. Please note that most films, scripted by more than four or five people, are telling you it had major script problems. Most horror classics, like The Omen (1976), Halloween (1978), The Evil Dead (1982) and Near Dark (1987), were scripted by one or two scribes, who told a simple story.

Also, I noticed how this film could be seen as a xenophobic metaphor directed at British people's discomfort of Eastern Europeans arriving here for a better life, and the story's set in Dagenham. But the film did have a moment. Yes, only one moment of interest. Right towards the very end, the writers must have decided, after running out of ideas, hey, let us make a re-enactment of From Dust Till Dawn (1996).

Interesting how the idea originated from the brilliant horror author Garry Charles. Now, I wish he had taken over the whole script, and then this film could have been decent and possibly be screaming for a sequel. It's a missed opportunity, folks. I could easily pick any scene, in the film, to make my point but I won't because it's the whole film that is in jeopardy, and its only home isn't the bargain bin in your local 99p store, but a bonfire. Oh yes, Guy Fawkes is round the corner.

Overall, not a pizza and beer film, because you will fall asleep while watching British horror's biggest crime. Just hope that Black and Blue Films can make a better film, to make up for the 90 minutes I lost.



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