This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would likely be a lot more negative
Uh oh, it’s time for one of “Those” thrillers. This is a pretty bad film and honestly it sets the tone from the start as an actor struggles to sing, but quickly finds that he doesn’t have the talent for it. I like to think that the film was trying to confuse you from the start so you wouldn’t think about the plot much. Just in case they threw in a lot of red herrings though and scenes that didn’t actually happen for plot convenience. The film’s plot had more holes in it than the Colossal and Armored Titan’s plan to wipe out humanity.
So the film starts off with a lady who is unable to speak and has nightmares every night. She locks her door so that nobody can break in and murder her. You see, she had a dream where a guy runs in with scissors and murders her. This is validated by the fact that around 40 years ago there was a case of a guy murdering a lookalike to her with them. The intro spends a long time showing us newsclip after newsclip of this although they all basically just lead to the conclusion that he was guilty of the crime. The Church decides to call in Mike to dig into her past. Seeing as how their may be a crazed killer after her, Mike does what any reasonable person would do….he puts her picture in the newspaper along with his phone number so the world can know where he is….Uh oh!
As you’d expect, this attracts a lot of the kooks from their hiding places. The first guy to walk in is an old man who acts rather sinister and takes a little too much interest in everything. He immediately starts to get very touchy with the heroine (Amanda) so Mike tells him to back off. He responds by telling Mike to back off and hypnotizes Amanda so we find out that she is a reincarnated person. The trouble is that she used to be the guy from the past while Mike is actually the girl who was murdered. Funny how this all happens isn’t it? The film spends a lot of time on the whole reincarnation nonsense so try not to groan at the explanations. I’m sure they spent a lot of time on them.
Mike continues to let the guy hypnotize her and then he gets hypnotized as well. Surely the guy is okay though right? Nothing suspect here. Meanwhile, a random guy named Doug shows up and announces that Amanda is his. He begins to run off with her as Mike buys this story, but fortunately Mike realizes that the guy is a phony because he brought the wrong glove. This leads to the most random scene in the whole film. Doug is actually a professional fighter and beats the stuffing out of Mike as he unleashes a really cool Tekken 7 combo that ends with a jumping double kick. Honestly I almost fell out of my chair at the sheer hype of this. Doug…if that’s even his name, never appears again and simply vanishes into the night.
As much fun as this plot can be…why is this film so bad. Well, for starters it’s pretty mean spirited. An old lady is murdered by the main villain here and she only got to appear for about a minute. Mike coerced her into revealing who the murderer was and then she was murdered. There should really be a witness protection program for all of the one shot characters who help the main lead and are then murdered as soon as he leaves. This seems to happen quite frequently.
The original murder case is also rather dark as well and everyone looks pretty bad as you’d expect. The couple get into some fights because the lady allows a guy to get overly friendly with her. He was clearly flirting, but she didn’t seem to mind. Then the guy was just as bad as he invited a kid and a lady to stay with them in his house even after they started robbing the wife. It’s pretty obvious that they’re crooks, but they haven’t murdered anyone right? Well, actually they do murder someone and the guy doesn’t even try to avenge his wife. He decides to take the fall for them (Unless he actually bought into the suicide angle which if so…he’s even dumber than I thought) and gets hanged/electrocuted/whatever death the government gave him.
A big theme in the film though is the Karma Credit plan. See, if you murder someone in the past, they’ll be reincarnated in the future to murder you. It’s a never ending cycle of violence and one that a retired psychiatrist buys into quite eagerly. The kid is worried about this and that sets up the modern plot. By the way, there aren’t really any nice characters here either. Even the retired guy tells Mike to just shoot the main heroine because he’s too far into the conspiracy. Talk about bad advice eh?
I do have to give the film some props for being rather unique though. This has got to be the only time in a movie where a pizza delivery man showed up during the climax to take names. The guy shows up with a pizza box just as the main hero is about to take the villain down and then he grabs the gun. In that one second, he moved quicker than most leads do. Naturally, he tackled the wrong person, but he meant well. After that, the climax turns into a Youtube parody.
The camera shifts every other second as it turns full slow mo and every character starts to lunge for a weapon. It shifts so many times that the actors forget where they are at times and I felt like there were a few plot holes there with characters being in the wrong spots. There’s opera music and I was even expecting the screen to start spinning or the colors to invert. It was so bad that it was so good for a second there. It also gets rather dark for someone who ends with a rather painful end. That’s the way it goes there. The hero did a good job fighting with a bullet wound near the heart the whole time. Props for that.
Back to the film being rather iffy though, the romance is also handled horribly. It doesn’t matter whether you chose the past or the present. In the present, Amanda may not have her memories, but she decides that she can have a fling anyway. After that, some guy she doesn’t even know claims they do know each other so she moves to him as the rebound guy. Okay, that didn’t work since he was lying so back to the starter. There are a lot of shifts here and it’s all a little too sudden. They should at least wait until she has her memories or until they’ve known each other a little longer right? The film gives these scenes a lot of screen time to try and show how madly in love with each other they are, but it just makes them seem rather shallow the whole time.
This film’s just a little too dark and gritty the whole time. The characters aren’t likable and the plot is just poorly handled. In case you couldn’t tell, I just didn’t like the whole cast. Mike panics quite a lot and doesn’t actually put much effort into finding Amanda’s family. He lets his assistant do that while he slacks off and visits the ocean. Amanda panics a lot and is too trusting of everyone which leads her to make bad move after bad move. The two mental characters only know how to give bad advice and the old character who lives to the present time has a bad smoking problem. There really isn’t anyone to root for. Back to the plot though, that’s the final aspect that we need to tackle. So, Amanda lost her memory. This has nothing to do with reincarnation or destiny, she just happened to lose her memory and wander all the way to the Church where Mike found her. The villain found out through the newspaper and he was able to give her fake memories. Okay, how’d he do it? Mike was there the whole time. If the memories were real…then this is awfully convenient once again. Then the villain’s plan of giving her a gun only works if she actually buys into his story and she has even less reason to trust him than Mike. The fact that she had a dream where Mike is evil is just there so she’ll turn against him even though that dream really shouldn’t be happening. Everything was just really convenient and worked in the villain’s favor. He was one step ahead of Mike from the start somehow as he even knew that Mike would visit his Mother and when he would do it. I dunno, he got too much credit if you ask me. I also think the heroes should have considered an option although it is admittedly a very bold one for a horror protagonist to make…Call The Cops! I mean, as soon as Mike knew what was going to happen, that might not have been a bad idea. Of course, he leaves his front door open so strangers including the main villain just pop in whenever they want so I don’t think safety is the first thing on his mind.
One thing that the film did well was the soundtrack. I can at least give it some points for that as it was all extremely dramatic and hype. The music would have fit well in a comic book movie or something of that nature. It just didn’t work here since the rest of the film just wasn’t good. Ah well, at least it gave us something interesting to listen too as the chaos unfolded on screen.
Overall, Dead Again is an underwhelming film. It should have ended when the Pizza man showed up and told the cast that Amanda actually lived somewhere else and the whole story was fake. That was an epic scene and the film should have just ended there. It would have been amazing and one of the most legendary endings of all time. Unfortunately, the film just didn’t have the guts to go for that and resorted to sticking with the reincarnation gibberish for a little longer. At least all the characters fall for every trap in the book to ensure that the villain has a fighting chance. If you want a film with less forced drama and everyone dying along the way, I’d suggest you go for a more classic film. Something like the Mega Man X OVA, Day of Sigma. Look it up, it’s pretty hype. On a final note, this film reminds us that putting a chair in front of the door doesn’t do much. Amanda tries this and people just burst in with no effort anyway so what was even the point again?