We’ve all seen it before, wild rich kids headed to a party when things go awry. That’s sort of the plot in a nutshell here with Tony Glazer’s Dead Sound. What sounds typical and is typical though actually doesn’t unfold too bad depending on the kind of mood you’re in.
The ideas presented in Dead Sound are interesting, I’ll give it this. However, it doesn’t really push forward on any of those ideas or moments presented in front of it. There’s a pristine example of this probably about two-thirds of the way through where two characters have a conversation and a sort of ulterior motive shows as to why things are happening, but once that moment is over, it’s never brought back or mentioned again. I’m wondering if there was more to this movie, but just no opportunity to put it on the final cut or film those segments. Unfortunately, once these ideas get put into my head, suddenly I want more, then I get left overthinking if that’s something we’ll ever see anything about it again. Fortunately, it doesn’t beat around those issues so much that it becomes unbearable. Plus, the movie doesn’t overstay its welcome. At about 85 minutes, give or take, you’re in and out quickly.
On paper, I don’t think you’re going to think much of, if anything, about this movie. Four party kids, Jake (Noah Gaynor), Ashley (Sophie Faulkenberry), Nicki (Matthew Gumley), and Carson (Max Miller) head to Block Island for a party when their trip goes south. Then it becomes a battle to stay alive as sailors Stone (Jeff Kober) and Bobby (John Behlmann) make everything life or death. What’s strange is this aspect starts up almost halfway through the movie, we don’t get much time to really delve into the horror. I was left waiting wondering what would be the catalyst for the events for so long that it didn’t catch me by surprise like the plot really should’ve at some point.
As mentioned, the idea that Dead Sound takes isn’t anything ready to blow the doors off the genre, not that it’s trying to. The horror aspect of the plot doesn’t really fully hit scare territory though. At no point does the plot ever live up to the name of the movie, which is sad. It’s so fully down the middle on things that it neither achieves nor fails at anything.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
This is going to be a weird one. So the main crew we follow around had just about no chemistry as a whole unit. Jake and Ashley are the two more serious of the group while Nicki and Carson fill the naive roles. There was no point where I felt like these were all solid friends, and the movie doesn’t really make an effort to say they aren’t friends to begin with. In fact, there’s at least one moment where someone refers to another as their best friend, yet there’s times in this film where characters ask questions to each other pertaining to their backstory. I didn’t understand this part at all. Tie that with some real cheesy lines here or there and suddenly it becomes hard to root for the whole crew.
The part that I was intrigued by though was that some of the characters came in with slightly different tropes than I was used to. Jake had an anger issue when it came to protecting Ashley, which unfortunately was one of the ideas that never seemed to follow through on, but the more interesting one was Ashley who had just come from rehab and was trying to battle temptations of alcohol and drugs that her friends would have around her. I liked having that extra cog in the machine and that was a good idea that did end up having its own arc. I’ll give a pass on that one.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The score wasn’t too engaging, which was fine. I don’t like horror movies with overbearing soundtracks. The more you notice it the less positive it becomes. Though, I will say the sound editing was very distracting in the movie. For example, there was a bar scene early on that meant to have the music in the background playing, but it didn’t have the effects built to feel like background noise, it felt like it was just another layer in the editing software, but turned down a bit. This was probably one of the first times I’ve ever noticed background audio this clearly disconnected from the rest of the movie and while this was the most egregious example, it happens a few times throughout. That said, it’s not big enough to completely destroy the film.
There wasn’t too much to go off of in this department, weird to say in a horror movie, I know. Being a budget movie, you can sort of know what I mean without me spoiling anything. The most we deal with here are just torn up clothes over time. Aside from a couple of small continuity errors, there wasn’t anything negative here. But being so barebones I can’t call it a homerun either.
"Where’s The Party?"
Genre: Horror. Thriller.
Perhaps if I didn’t hype this up in my head I would have been let down easier. This movie begs us to make this decision with her and that’s literally it. There’s no B-story and no real stakes for our girl, so you kind of just don’t care who she ends up with at the end. If you don’t mind a mundane after school special type thing with these characters, have at it! If you want an entertaining story, just rewatch the first one.