Written & Directed by: Anthony Dixon
Starring: Ryan Brownlee, Jenna Jade Rain, Jaime Abrams
A disheveled young man (Ryan Brownlee) stumbles through the deserted streets, looking like he fought a losing battle with a few bottles of Jack Daniels. His clothes are wrinkled and smeared with dirt. His sideways lurch suggests its a minor miracle that he possess the motor skills and agility to stand upright, never mind remain in motion. Upon returning to his front porch and fishing the spare keys from the potted plants he makes his way into the home he shares with his fiance (Jenna Jade Rain). When she finds him in the kitchen, she shrieks with horror.
She had just buried him two weeks ago.
The Dead Experiment tells the story of a pair of grad school scientists, Chris and Jacob (Jaime Abrams) dedicated to eradicating death. When they’re on the cusp of a breakthrough, Chris succumbs to a ravaging fever, only to be brought back by Jacob. While things appear normal at first, within a short time signs begin to manifest themselves that Chris didn’t come back quite right.
While The Dead Experiment shares some cinematic DNA with films like Ra-Animator, or the Frankenstein mythos, it’s very light on horror elements. It’s much more of a drama concerned with the ethical questions surrounding medical and scientific research.
The Dead Experiment is the rare story where there are no bad guys. The antagonists of the story are the limits of human understanding and the natural finality of death. All three characters begin with the noblest of intentions, and though they make some questionable choices along they way, there’s an absence of malice with all their decisions.
Unfortunately while that might make it easy to root for the characters, there’s a lack of momentum with The Dead Experiment that makes it feel longer than its 76 minute run time. The limited budget constricts the setting to the home Chris and Maddie share. The film relies on scientific jargon to explain what’s going on, which makes it difficult to follow at times.
Ultimately The Dead Experiement is a solid, if quiet little indie effort. It may on the dry side for horror fans, but its a decent, thought provoking dramatic effort.