Deaden tells the story of Rayne, whose wife and unborn child get brutally murdered after his gangster-friends find out that he is an undercover cop. The first ten minutes of the movie show straight away one of the bloodiest, most disgusting scenes ever. It’s like watching the horrible scenes in Gaspar Noé’s „Irreversible“ again, you want to look away, but you have to see the scenes, as they explain the yet-to-come amok run of Rayne: His wife not only gets raped and abused with a baseball bat, but the gangsters also ‘abort’ the baby she is expecting in a quite insane way. And Rayne? He is not only forced to watch his wife die, no, he also gets beaten up and tortured – before they shoot a arrow in his head (damn cool joke) and throw him in the river. But he survives! And after he gets some treatment in a hospital he’s soon back on the street, paying these sons of bitches back for their crimes…
Neither director Christian Viel nor main actor John Fallon made a secret out of their script and intentions: In some interviews they clearly stated that the 2004 remake of “The Punisher” was too soft, and that they wanted to make a “real” revenge movie with Deaden. Well, they achieved this goal for sure.
For sure, some scenes and the whole story will seem somewhat close to other movies – for instance the new mother of revenge movies, Kill Bill, or the famous revenge movies of the 80’s. Strangely coincidentally enough, also a little bit to Crank: While Statham takes Adrenalin all the time during Crank to survive, Rayne takes pain killers and drugs all the time to deal with the physiological as well as psychological damage. By the way, the movie’s name while in production was “Pain Killer” but it had to be changed due to some weird copyright problems, just read the “nice” sign in the credits. But the story has some originality and crazy new ideas, together with unused, fresh locations in the beautiful country that is Canada. Director Viel also must have known that he could never reach a “Hollywood-Look” with HD material, so he skillfully uses various filters on the images, without visually over-killing them.
Like it is with low-budget movies, they always have a drop of bitterness here and there – but after all, this is a dream project that could only be made with little money and lots of energy: While the main actor as well as the bigger supporting actors act very well, there are some smaller roles that come across as a bit amateurish (we are not talking about JoBlo’s gag-scene, though), especially when it comes to some emotional scenes… it’s obvious. And while the Mano-a-Mano fights are both realistic and professional, some of the shooting sequences look a bit unbelievable – like in the warehouse, where everyone seems to be shooting for a long time before finally someone drops dead on the ground. And the digital blood, why?!
But the movie is good at clearing away these small blemishes: Especially John Fallon who is absolutely in the zone with his acting! His expressions and his anger-attacks during the horrible beginning-sequence make the audience feel for him, wanting his revenge together with him. Every act of revenge is like a candy, a good feeling of getting even with these bastards. Also his drug-buddy, played by Deke Richards, delivers a good performance. The music rocks most of the time, sometimes it’s a hint too sentimental, and there are some great below-the-line jokes that’ll make you laugh out loud. Viel obviously has everything under control, and his great sound-mix deserves an honorable mention. Viel shows horrible images only for a couple of frames, to give an impression, and leaves the sound of the scene in full volume going – this way the horror is created in the head, and not through long shots of cheap gore effects.
Running just a bit more then 70 minutes, the movie is a bit short – but thank god Viel didn’t even try to blow it up to ninety minutes, following that stupid trend nowadays that movies need to be as long as possible. That is brave, that makes sense, this way the movie doesn’t have a single boring minute on screen. In the end, Viel and Fallon can be totally proud of their baby: It delivers.