LAFF: The Dead Center Review

The Dead Center Theatrical Poster

Low budget horror films have been a staple in the film industry for as long as the industry has been around. If it weren’t for them we wouldn’t have Halloween or Hereditary. Billy Senese’s film, The Dead Center is the latest in a long line of low budget horror films. But is the film any good or does it follow the long line of bad horror films?

Although there are instances where the film follows the cheesiness of other horror films, the mystery of John Doe will make you tense up until the very end.

The Dead Center follows Daniel Forrester, a psychiatrist who finds a mysterious patient inside their psych ward. Little does he know that the John Doe is hiding a terrible secret that threatens life itself.

The Dead Center - Jeremy Childs

Let’s be honest, low budget horror films are typically really, really bad. There are some that stand above the rest but a majority of them are just really bad. Fortunately, The Dead Center is unlike most low-budget horror films. The film isn’t going to be a cult classic but it’s definitely not a terrible film either.

But what sets The Dead Center apart from the others is with its mysterious storyline. Discovering what’s happening with John Doe is intriguing from the start. However, the film takes its sweet, sweet time unveiling the clues to the mystery. At least when the film progresses, the film gets creepier. The film doesn’t rely on a ton of jump scares and gratuitous gore to frighten the audience. Instead, it relies on the unknown and a number of creepy visuals. With that unknown, the tension ramps up and up as the film progresses.

However, the film is bogged down by quite a number of issues. Not only is there some terrible dialogue, but the film has zero character development for a majority of characters too. The only exception to this is the main character, Daniel Forrester. Other than that, certain main characters are simply used as a tool to answer the mystery of John Doe. Although the film does look like a studio film at times, there are instances where it shows the limited amount of budget that it had. For example, some instances have bad lighting while some have raw audio recordings.

The Dead Center - Shane Carruth

Not to mention, there are some questionable acting from the cast as well. Not only do they have zero personality but their performances are wooden as well. However, The Dead Center’s two leads are two things that make this film. Admittedly, Shane Carruth has moments of questionable acting at the beginning of the film. As the film progresses, however, Carruth shows off his veteran acting skills. He displays a ton of emotion ranging from anger to sadness to cockiness.

But it’s Jeremy Childs’ physical performance that makes the film. Childs barely has any lines in the film, but his physical performance makes up for his lack of lines. His facial expressions and body language say more than words do. It’s also through his performance that the film is as eerie as it is.

Overall, The Dead Center is a tense and eerie horror film. While most low-budget horror films rely on jump scares to frighten the audience, The Dead Center uses its mysterious villain to provide scares. However, the film goes through several “cheap” moments which takes away from an otherwise good film.

Rating: 3.5/5 atoms

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1616 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.