Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dead Air

Dead Air 2009
Director: Corbin Bernsen
Writer: Kenny Yenkel
Starring Bill Moseley, Patricia Tallman, David Moscow, Corbin Bernsen, Dan Lauria, Elle Travis, Susan Ruttan, Larry Drake, Lakshmi Manchu and Federico Dordei

This was a film that piqued my interest mainly due to the fact that Bill Moseley and Patricia Tallman were in it. It sounded like a very cool concept, a besieged late night radio talk show besieged by zombie attacks. The film did not disappoint it was like Talk Radio combined with 28 Days Later. The film is anchored by the excellent performances by Moseley and Tallman, they are always a delight to watch and here there is no difference. The film has a very isolationist and claustrophobic feel and it works very well. It also feels a lot like a 3 person play and I could definitely see it played on the stage. Also, the idea of terrorist biological warfare is a theme that everyone can relate too in these modern times. All of these conceits are melded together well and it ends up being a great little horror film.
The plot basics are this, it seems to be another average night for late night radio talk show host Logan Burnhardt (Moseley) who decides to talk about paranoia tonight, but that seems to be a prophetic choice of topics. When a group of terrorists unleash a biological attack on the city, he sees things begin to unravel and soon he is the only person on the air that is able to warn people about what is happening. It seems that the infected begin to act like zombies and anyone who is outside will be torn to pieces. Not long after, one of the terrorists (Dardei) breaks into the station and holds Burnhardt captive along with his co worker and ex girlfriend, Lucy (Tallman). It seems the terrorist wants to take over the broadcast and trick the city's denizens into going outside so more people are infected and now it is up to Logan to find a way to stop him before more blood is shed.
This was an exceptional film. Bernsen's direction is taut and suspenseful and there are lots of times where you feel nothing is going right for the characters. They way he filmed it reminded me a lot of Talk Radio and that is one of my favorite Oliver Stone films. The way Burnhardt eggs on and goads both his audience members and his coworkers is mesmerizing to watch. Bernsen also films the attack scenes very well they are frenetic and quick and that works well in propelling the film forward. The script is great too, you really get into the head of Logan and see how his brain machinations work. He can be thoughtless and rude, but you also see sparks of his humanity in there and that makes him more than a stereotype. The cast is phenomenal, Moseley steals every scene he is in and when he goes on one of his diatribes on the air, you are transfixed. Tallman is another great member of the cast, you watch as she tries to get the humanity to come out of Logan, and you can see it is an uphill battle, yet she still perseveres. The SFX and effects in the film are quite effective, there is not much but what is used is used effectively. The film is more about mood and atmosphere and that works really well in this film. If you want a original and fresh take on zombie films with something to say, definitely seek this one out.
This one gets 5 out of 5

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