Dead End (2003)

I had to shorten this on my Letterboxd, so this is the full unedited review for the Blog which I now often neglect quite a bit.

Gosh, this was either a Movie Gallery or Blockbuster rental, while also a film I can recall showing up often around 1 when I would fall asleep on any myriad of Showtime channels. 

But since then, "Dead End" has sort of joined the annals of the ad-based streaming era. It popped up on Shudder so that was where I noticed it, but I bet Tubi will recommend it to you at some point if you have similar tastes to mine.

If you tell me Wise and Shaye are husband and wife on a car ride to hell while witnessing a second car carrying off members of the family until they are later found dead, I would, of course, grab the popcorn and be giddy with excitement. 

This is right up my alley. I live for this kind of plot. Does it sort of end predictably? Yeah, it does sort of give obvious clues. 

Ray falling asleep at the wheel and the same road sort of give you that. But Holden emerging from her shock to take charge when her father becomes too boozed and stressed out (with a shot leg because Shaye got "shotgun trigger happy") is a treat of a development. Cain as the jerk brother who has nothing but insults and asshole antics might the more obnoxious of the cast, not faring well when Amber wants to give him a particular kind of kiss.

Spending a lot of time in the vehicle might be a bit too much for some viewers. I could see that being a sticking point. It might be a bit like a film set in one location feeling too stagey, like a play.

I could easily pair this with something like "Wind Chill" or "Riding the Bullet" in regards to "nightmare road trips" where it would seem like you are stuck on a "road to nowhere". 

A family (Lynn Shaye as the wife who just loses her marbles after their son is found a brutal mess is great, but I was especially pleasantly surprised of the lesser recognized name of Holden who has a ton of credits to her name with television) just wants to get to the in-laws on Christmas Eve but Ray Wise just had to take that damn short cut. Seemingly on the road to Marcott (how this relates to Holden made me smile being the Twilight Zone fan I am), they just drive and drive some more. 

Why do they continue to see that same antique car and adult film star Amber Smith carrying around a dead baby?


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