STUDIO: Anchor Bay
MSRP: $19.98
RATED: Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
• Raising the Dead: The Making of Dead and Deader
• Commentary by writer Steve Krizere and producer Mark Altman
• Still gallery
• DVD-ROM script feature

The Pitch

Zombies like to eat people. Go figure.

The Humans

Dean Cain, Guy Torry, Susan Ward, Peter Greene, Armin Shimerman, Colleen Camp.

"Doc, are you trying to tell me I’m dead?"
"No, just your career prospects…"

The Nutshell

A group of soldiers led by Lt. Bobby Quinn (Cain) goes to Cambodia to investigate the disappearance of some medical workers and instead find a nest of zombies that were infested by bugs that look a hell of a lot like scorpions. When an errant grenade turns them all into meat sacks, their bodies are shipped back to California but Quinn soon wakes up on the coroner’s table pre-autopsy and cuts one of the bugs out of his arm. He soon finds that although he has the disadvantage of being dead, he also has abilities such as super strength and quick healing. Quinn then realizes that he’s the lucky one, as the other members of his unit have become flesh-eating zombies who are quickly spreading their condition around the base and nearby town. Quinn, the sidekick army chef, Judson (Torry), and a hot local bartender (Ward) soon have to team up to stop the flesh eating rampage.

Heat vision and gas aren’t a pretty combination…

The Lowdown

It’s kind of hard to not want to like a low budget zombie flick. By their very nature, these types of movies are made for campiness, gore and bad acting. But usually you have to at least have a kernel of a story to work off of, and maybe bring something new to the mix. Dead and Deader has the latter, but not much of the former. Sue me, but I’ve liked Dean Cain since back in his Lois and Clark days, and I’d been hoping that since then he’d manage to find something worthy to further his career. Even though I hadn’t seen it, I thought he might have finally gotten his second break when he co-starred in the Denzel Washington flick, Out of Time, a few years ago. But generally, all he’s mostly been cranking out are not-so-good low budget and direct-to-DVD / direct-to Sci-Fi Channel schlock. And Dead and Deader is right along his current career path.

You don’t have to be a zombie to want to bite into that…

Now Deader isn’t entiorely all bad. It’s got some fairly impressive gore, it pulls a card out of the Dead Heat grab bag by having Cain as a dead action hero walking, and it takes a stab at some campy dialogue and fanboy movie franchise debates. Among the topics discussed are Star Wars talking points and which is better: the original Dawn of the Dead or the remake. There’s even the requisite Dean Cain Superman joke. But the overall story is just so weak and poorly thought out that it robs the film of most of the good stuff it had going for it. A perfect example: the villain of the piece (Greene) isn’t even introduced until more than halfway through; and the action finds our heroes going from one haphazard location to the next, before just eventually just ending up right back where they started. The bottom line is that this is a low budget movie and it’s not plotted well enough to make you think it isn’t.

…then one day, Dick Cheney got bored with simply shooting people…

Deader also has a cliché or two, such as having Guy Torry as the wisecracking black comic relief sidekick. But it was nice to see Peter Greene back on the screen though. Don’t know if the raspy voice he had here as the dying bad guy seeking to prolong his life was plotted or the result of his latest coke bender. Susan Ward lends the required cheesecake, and she’s actually quite a bit better than I would have at first given her credit for. Armin Shimerman and Jon Billingslea lend some Star Trek street cred in a couple of cameos.

Unfortunately, Amalgam Comics’ SuperPunisher adaptation wasn’t one of their better selling titles…

The Package

The films looks decent enough and the sound is fine. There’s a commentary by writer Steve Krizere and producer Mark Altman. “Raising the Dead:The Making of Dead and Deader” is a good making-of that runs around 33 minutes and gives the boilerplate talking head pieces from the cast and crew and plenty of behind-the-scenes stuff. There’s also a stills gallery and a DVD-ROM feature where you can access the screenplay.

5.8 out of 10