“It’s madness! Madness, I tell you!”
— Alex Travis (Emily Hughes) in The Dead Live (2006)
So, this is what it comes down to. There’s a lot of very critical things that you can say about the 2006 zombie film, The Dead Live. You can complain about the wooden acting. You can talk about the terrible special effects. You can talk about the numerous continuity errors and you can also point out that this film drags on for 120 minutes. Myself, I would complain about the repetitive heavy metal soundtrack. (What is the deal with amateur zombie filmmakers and heavy mental?) Judging from the comments over at the imdb, the number one complaint about this film is with the sound. To put it simply, it’s often time impossible to hear what anyone’s saying in The Dead Live.
But, with all that in mind, The Dead Live does feature brave journalist, Alex Travis (played by Emily Hughes), shouting, “It’s madness! Madness, I tell you!” And any movie that features “Madness, I tell you!” in the dialogue cannot be considered all bad.
Add to that, this film features a scene where an unfortunate guy gets shot in the head. However, before the trigger is pulled, the guy shouts, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” and the action suddenly starts moving in slow motion. Even the “NOOOOOOOOOO!” is heard in slow motion. And, as I’ve said in the past, I love the slow mo of doom.
Oh! And I did I mention that, towards the end of the film, someone shouts, “STOP OR I’LL SHOOT! ARE YOU DEAD OR ALIVE!?”
And then there’s the visit to the Savini County Morgue in Romero, Ohio (that’s right — Savini County and Romero, Ohio), which turns out to be located in an office. The director plays the coroner. He also plays the sheriff, a member of a SWAT Team, and a zombie.
Before we get too snarky, I’ve read a FAQ at the imdb, one which I have a reason to suspect was written by the director himself. This was Darrin Patterson’s first movie and, assuming that he is the author of the surprisingly detailed FAQ, he admits that this film was largely a learning experience.
And, as easy as it is to criticize The Dead Live, there’s an odd sort of charm to just how thoroughly and totally inept this movie really is. I think it’s because we all secretly know that, if we ever got a chance to make a movie for only $10,000 and with no professional help whatsoever, we’d probably end up making something just as bad.
The phrase is overused but The Dead Live is literally “so bad that it’s good.” It’s a shame that the film doesn’t have a cult following. If you can appreciate Birdemic or April Rain, you can probably appreciate The Dead Live.