Dead Bride - New Release Review
Director: Francesco Picone
Starring: Jennifer Mischiati, Christoph Hülsen, David White, Douglas Owen, Sean James Sutton, Francesca Albanese
Written by: Francesco Picone
Produced by: Francesco Picone, Giancarlo Freggia
Cinematography by: Marzio Mirabella
Original Score by: Alessandro Moro
After her father's death, Alyson, her partner Richard and their baby return to her childhood home.
Everybody loves a good haunted house horror film. Whether it be ghosts, demons or something even more sinister, it's the sub-genre that keeps giving back to horror fans. However when a bad one comes along it's really difficult to scrape it out of your head and forget about it entirely. Sadly 'Dead Bride' definitely falls into the latter.
Married couple Alyson and Richard move into Alyson's old childhood home with their newborn son Seth. Her father has recently committed suicide and this move is supposed to be a new start for them. They clearly have never watched a horror film before. It's not long before Alyson begins to see haunting visions and nightmares she had when she was a child start to return. This is something that has been ongoing for a considerable amount of time as Richard mentions her medication early on.
Alyson is haunted by her abusive childhood and the memories of her sick mother, who was possessed by a demonic entity years prior. The nightmares and visions become real and the couple seek the help of a priest first, then an experienced psychic after the kidnapping of their baby boy.
It's not exactly the most original premise but when a film is done correctly we can usually look past the lack of originality and appreciate the passion and talent involved. I am not attacking the absence of passion from the filmmaker. 'Dead Bride' does have some impressively spooky scenes involving the demon-possessed mother, and the make-up effects are actually quite good, but there's really not many more positives than that unfortunately.
It tries. It really tries. But its ambition is likely its downfall because the film just can't keep up with its own ideas. The jump scares are fairly predicable and while there is some nice musical pieces here and there the sound design of the film feels very generic and a bit like stock audio. And staying on the sound for a minute. It's very jarring because most, if not all the medium and wide shots have the dialogue dubbed in. Not sure if this was a necessity because some of the cast aren't natively English speaking or just a huge homage to Dario Argento and other similar filmmakers, which could be spot on as the director is Italian and this was an Italian production. Still, I think it could've worked better with subtitles as a few of the scenes are noticeably out of sync.
With the exception of Alyson and the priest, the performances from all the other cast members are pretty awful. I hate saying this. Jennifer Mischiati isn't stellar but she at least shows a little range with her facial expressions. A few of the cast feel like they're acting in a commercial aimed at children. The dialogue is not good either and there's just way too much exposition with characters talking to each other purely for the viewers but it all feels very unnatural.
Director Francesco Picone might be using 'Dead Bride' as a huge tribute to his favourite films from the 70s and 80s, with a splash of Blumhouse thrown in for good measure. I genuinely don't know. It's filmed well enough and there's a few sequences that are ridiculously excessive, which is a good thing, but it never flows correctly and the tone is a bit all over the place.
- Gavin Logan
'Dead Bride' arrives on Digital Platforms in the UK from Trinity Creative on March 20th.