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October 25, 2010

Movie Review: Dead Air

Well, for every good idea there is a rip off of that good idea. I’m not sure what came first, but Dead Air is so incredibly reminiscent of Pontypool that I can’t imagine that one wasn’t influenced by the other. Unfortunately, for Dead Air, it comes up on the short end in the comparison.

Dead Air is slick, that’s for sure, but comes across as forced. Television actor Corbin Bernsen’s sophomore directing debut has all the right beats in all the right points, but the overall presentation suffers from a lack of originality.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Acerbic and controversial radio DJ, Logan Something (Bill Moseley in his standard solid performance) finds out that people in his unnamed Big City are going nuts, acting violently and attacking anything in sight. They are, obviously, infected with something and, as is the norm nowadays, extreme rage is the symptom. Logan stays on the air to be a voice of reason and tries to help. Pretty standard, right? Not as polished as Pontypool , and a little reminiscent of Howard Stern’s city-rallying work on September 11, 2001, but not a bad start. Oh, wait, there’s more. Apparently, the infection was let loose on multiple nations by a group of Muslim extremists who, as part of their master plan, knew that Logan would not abandon his post and force him to say anti-Muslim things on his radio show (all the while, his Muslim wife is at home, not understanding why Logan is saying these things). There is an antidote, of course, and Logan and his ex-wife producer (Patricia Tallman) manage to defeat the terrorist and get the serum to the World Health Organization.

I know, I get it. The message of the film is one of tolerance, of course, but it is handled in such a ham-handed fashion, I’m not sure it comes across effectively at all. Dead Air does suffer from some uneven performances, writing that vacillates from poor to solid and back to poor and camera work reminiscent of television dramas from the early 90s. Dead Air could have been much better than it was if the production would only stick to the minimalist concept. It got too big and lost itself.

Dead Air is available on DVD from Anthem Pictures. If you want to check it out, use the handy link to the left there and give a little something back to the Cheese.

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