Monday, April 30, 2007

Long Time Dead (2002)

Long Time Dead is a British film from 2002 that has a very cheesy-looking DVD cover. This film is a tepid horror film at best, but it still manages to wrangle some tension out of the story along the way.

When a group of pretty young things get bored at “le disko,” they decide to create a makeshift Ouija board in the creepy basement. Something goes wrong (or right, depending on how you look at it) and they contact something called a “Djinn” that spells out “all die.” One guy freaks out and destroys the Ouija, thereby releasing the malevolent spirit. The Djinn is a kind of genie, but not one that grants wishes. This is a nasty demon that is made out of fire and is capable of burning his victims to death. As the Djinn starts tracking the friends down, they start dying one by one. The rest of the group must figure out why the Djinn is after them and if it has anything to do with one of them.

Long Time Dead certainly isn’t the best horror film around (not by a long shot) but it definitely isn’t the worst. Sure, it’s predictable, has zero scares, is riddled with clichés and doesn’t have memorable characters or death scenes, but I still found myself enjoying it. There are better films that deal with Ouija boards and such (I’ve heard the Wishmaster and Witchboard films mentioned a lot in LTD discussions), but this one still managed to keep me entertained and sometimes that’s all I need!

Even though the characters weren’t developed, the acting was surprisingly very good. It was also nice to see Lukas Haas again (whom I didn’t recognize until his name popped up on screen!). The rest of the cast was equally good, with the exception of someone who dies early in the film, thank goodness! The acting is played very seriously, which actually works and sets up a very tense atmosphere.

The acting and the suspenseful atmosphere are the two main things that work for Long Time Dead. Though the scares are limited and the death scenes aren’t too memorable, it’s the atmosphere that infuses the picture with dread and tension. The actors play off the tense moments very well…one of my favorite scenes involves when two characters break into their flat (now under police surveillance) to retrieve a video camera. It is dark and one goes down into the kitchen for some matches…the other character goes to investigate after the other doesn’t return, and finds a big puddle of blood. He rushes back up the stairs, turning on all the lights to hopefully alert the police, who are sitting in a squad car outside. The Djinn goes after him, turning off each light in the house one by one. We see each light snuffed out from outside the house, which gives it a very ominous feel.

The production values are all top-notch and the film is very polished and slick-looking. Director Marcus Adams creates some pretty tense scenes with low lighting and dark settings. The special effects are pretty cool and aren’t overused, which was nice, and CGI is kept to a minimum.

The rest of the film feels very PG-13, though, and most horror fans will prefer to watch the better Ouija board films mentioned above. Long Time Dead has a tendency to drag in some parts, is clichéd, doesn’t have many cool death scenes, and the ending is pretty predictable (though, to its credit, the last scene is a lot of fun!!). Hardcore fans will be disappointed at the lack of originality, scares and gore in Long Time Dead, but if you are in the mood to sit back and turn your brain off for a good hour and a half, Long Time Dead is still an entertaining choice and you could do a lot worse!

Available on Amazon!

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