I admire horror movies that succeed at scaring viewers without having to revert to startling them. The author-directors Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa make efficient use of the atmosphere to achieve their goal. The group is faced with a problem that gradually worsens and it soon becomes clear that no solution exists. At least, thatís the feeling that is emanated. Additionally, when the irrational gets involved, our characters become more human than ever: they are irritated, terrified and desperate. They reveal personal aspects about themselves, secrets that even their best friends ignored.
The whole story happens on or close to the road, more often than not in the family car but, nevertheless, it remains interesting. Lin Shaye and Ray Wise play an old couple that has known better times. Their relationship is a major addition to the story. The three kids (Alexandra Holden, Mick Cain and Billy Asher) also improve it. The family bonds are strong and when an event of this magnitude happens, it is very hard to see those we love suffer and lose control.
It is for your good that I reveal so little of Dead End. The film has much to say and doesnít dilly dally before letting you know. It doesnít revolve around violence nor does it focus on special effects. While I might sound repetitive, its strength is its atmosphere. The dialogue is impeccable and humor is used appropriately.
Two small aspects still bother me. The first is Mick Cainís character: Richard. He does the dumbest things during moments of tension. He is too ignorant and immature to be taken seriously. The second concerns a character that is supposedly mysterious but isnít really scary.
Claustrophobic environment, excellent sound effects and camera action: the film has everything going for it. Turn down the lights, keep the spectators to a minimum and youíll undergo an intense viewing experience.