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July 13, 2010

Movie Review: Hellbound: Book of the Dead (2003, Brain Damage Films)

by David Hayes

Originally entitled "Cadaver Bay," Hellbound: Book of the Dead starts out promising the viewer quite a bit. As an ultra low-budget cross between The Evil Dead and one of Romero's zombie epics, Hellbound has some large shoes to fill. From the onset, the viewer knows that it is watching a shot on video cheapie. A young couple, Jeff Dylan Graham (Dead & Rotting, Home Sick) and Elizabeth North, living on an anonymous bay have had a few tragic occurrences in their lives.

Buy Hellbound: Book of the Dead on DVD

The young woman's sister recently died in a car accident and her father passed away a few years earlier. He was a scientist researching the mythical "Book of the Dead" that, if used properly, can bring back the deceased. The woman picks up on her father's research and locates the book. The owner of the book attempts a little blackmail to insure his payment and is killed by the woman. She attempts to use the book to bring the owner back, but it seems as if the book doesn't work. The woman's beleaguered boyfriend hits on the snazzy idea to dismember the corpse and dump it into the bay (hence the original title). What the two realize a little to late, is that the book needs time to work. The owner's limbs begin to move and the woman realizes that she has hit on something. She immediately attempts to bring her father back to life with disastrous, zombie munching consequences.

Although hampered with bad to mediocre acting and some poor camerawork (the bane of low-budget filmmakers), Hellbound manages to take a tired zombie/dead raising premise and breath new life into it. The setting is original and the gauntlet that Graham is put through would make Rambo cringe. Although the breast count (2 pair) and the body count (5) is a little low for some tastes, Hellbound does deliver. The DVD authoring is superb (like the majority of the Brain Damage product) and the only problem with viewing the film is the shoddy camera work. On the DVD sent out for screening purposes, there were no special features although that is expected to change. Produced by the team at (Cremains, Demon Disc) and written & directed by Steve Sessions.

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