In the world of The Dead Ones, those whose lives are cut short by violence do not disappear, they live to haunt the person who killed them. Directed by Stefan Georgiou and written by Federico Fernandez-Armesto, starring: Olivia Hallinan, Sebastian Armesto, Vinette Robinson and Jim Conway.
Immediately upon opening there’s a distinct quality that’s dark without being grim. The cinematography is sharp and gritty but holds on to a curious, mysterious quality which stops it from feeling like you’re about to see a crack den or some poor fella’s guts on the floor; it’s a difficult balance to strike but realised smoothly here. That combination of impressive visual and energy starts the film out with a disturbing edge and you’ll be eager to find out more. Another feature that strong visual accomplishes is presenting a down to earth, harsh London instead of a shiny, glamorous one that you see so often, it’s rare to find an example of film representing our capital without your average person living in a flat that’s probably worth more than they’d make in their lifetime.
Another good balance the film strikes is between sadistic and sympathetic, it may revolve around murder and its victims but there’s no moment that its characters don’t feel relatable…with the exception of the dead part and Large’s (Jim Conway) intentional obnoxious nature. The majority of that sympathy goes to Olivia Hallinan’s Alex, one of the things that the film makes glaringly obvious is how much of a shame it is that Hallinan hasn’t had the opportunity to make her mark on British media since her days of Sugar Rush and Lark Rise to Candleford. The entire cast is a strong quartet and it’s pleasing that time isn’t wasted on unnecessary additions, the story is about them and only them, keeping a dedicated focus. It’s peppered with quiet moments, cutting out extraneous dialogue and maintaining its macabre and sinister vibe, in-between the more sarcastic or comedic moments.
One of the most satisfying elements of the film is its writing, even if you can see where things are headed once the plot makes itself clear, it still has a few surprises in store. It’s always disheartening to get invested in a story and then it be either a dead end (no pun intended) or utterly predictable but The Dead Ones has a couple of things up its sleeve to not only make it worth the while but to make you wish you could follow the characters further.
The Dead Ones has put together a strong cast to bring audiences a dark but gripping story; the direction is sleek, the writing is sharp and it leaves you wanting more.
Verdict: 8/10 | ✯✯✯✯