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Arrow Video FrightFest October 2020: ‘Dead’ review

A man who can talk to ghosts helps a dead police officer solve his murder.

Hapless stoner Marbles (Thomas Sainsbury) seems like a waste of space to everyone around him but he actually spends his days helping people because he can see ghosts, thanks to a concoction of marijuana and neurological medication. During a visit with a woman he’s helping, Marbles is approached by the ghost of police officer Tagg (Hayden J. Weal) who wants his help to find out who murdered him.

‘Dead’ is the kind of buddy horror/comedy that’s destined to become a cult classic. Written by its stars Thomas Sainsbury and Hayden J. Weal, the latter of whom directs the film too, ‘Dead’ is an inventive and very funny film out of New Zealand. From the moment Marbles and Tagg meet one another, they don’t particularly like each other but Marbles’ need to be liked and Tagg’s determination to solve his murder, and the cases linked to it, brings them together in an uneasy but mutually beneficial way.

Credit: 1091 Pictures

Enlisting the help of Tagg’s foster sister Yana (Tomai Ihaia), the trio set about work to understand the chain of events that led to Tagg’s murder. Of course, it takes some persuading to bring Yana on board because she’s not aware her brother is dead and she’s sceptical about Marbles’ ability to see ghosts. A very funny scene plays out where Marbles convinces her, and it’s one of many big laughs you’ll have over the course of the film.

Marbles and Tagg’s investigation takes them into the world of gay men, with Tagg reluctantly admitting that he’s gay and was in love with one of the other victims. Cue some uncomfortable scenes for both men, perfectly played for laughs including a hilarious scene where Marbles’ dismissive mother gets wasted at a gay bar. I should also point out that Tagg spends most of the film in pink underwear and the top half of his police uniform, which is explained, but it made me chuckle the first time you meet him.

Credit: 1091 Pictures

The relationship between Marbles and Tagg is at the heart of the film and they are so loveable that you get hooked on their adventure quickly. Both actors are well-known in New Zealand and after ‘Dead’ their international profile should soar. Their chemistry is natural and they riff off one another with ease. You can see their bond on screen and the journey for the relationship between the characters is really lovely to watch blossom.

‘Dead’ is a superb film packed with hilarious moments and two outstanding lead performances. The premise is a lot of fun and the plot unfolds in a satisfying way that makes you root for Marbles and Tagg throughout the film. If you fancy a good laugh and a story that makes you feel-good, then ‘Dead’ is definitely worthy of your time.

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Cast: Thomas Sainsbury, Hayden J. Weal, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Tomai Ihaia Director: Hayden J. Weal Writers: Thomas Sainsbury & Hayden J. Weal Certificate: 18 Duration: 90 mins Released by: 1091 Media

‘Dead’ will be available on Digital Download from 27th October and can be pre-ordered now


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