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Sample: Title; rating (out of 4); principal setting; year of release; international co-producer (if any); cast; description; scriptwriter; director; content warning; running time.

DE PERE EN FLIC  * *  setting: P.Q.
(2009) Michel Cote, Louis-Jose Houde, Remy Girard, Caroline Dhavernas, Patrick Drole, Robin Aubert, Luc Senay.....Bickering father and son cops (Cote and Houde) reluctantly go undercover at a father-son wilderness therapy retreat in the hopes of gaining the confidence of a biker mob lawyer (Girard), there with his own estranged son (Drole), and learning the whereabouts of a kidnapped police officer. "City Slickers" meets "Lethal Weapon" (or The Wild Guys meets Bon cop, bad cop) in this comedy-drama. Decent performances, and a potentially cute premise, but the movie has trouble juggling all its characters and themes -- even whether it's a crime-drama, with humour, or a comic farce about crime. The humour, though sometimes funny, isn't consistent, and the drama-serious stuff often is kind of implausible. And for a movie that, at its core, is about relationships...never quite clicks as an emotional/character story (and suffers from some misogynistic undercurrents). Still, one of those things where strengths and weaknesses teeter on a scale, so on a slow night... English title: Father and Guns. sc: Emile Gaudreault, Ian Lauzon. dir: Emile Gaudreault. 107 min.

DEAD AVIATORS * * * setting: Nfld.
(1999) (/U.S.) Juliana Wimbles, Lothaire Bluteau, Michel Monty, Marsha Mason, Leslie Hope, Ben Cook, Dan Lett, James Allodi, Eugene Lipinski, Brooke Johnson.....Bitter teen (Wimbles) staying with her grandmother (American Mason) in rural Newfoundland, befriends the ghosts of two French aviators (Bluteau and Monty) who crashed in 1927 making a trans-Atlantic flight. Made for CBC TV family fantasy starts out like a zillion other films: surly child protagonist, bitter over his/her parent's death/divorce, moves to a small town, finds something -- a dog, a moose, a pet project (in this case, helping the ghosts shake the mortal coil) -- that gives him/her a renewed purpose, mmaking him/her a better person. The domestic scenes are peopled by unpleasant personalities, but the movie genuinely picks up -- getting both funnier and more poignant -- as it focuses on her relationships with the ghosts, building to a solid climax. Good looking and very well-acted (though other than Wimbles, Bluteau and Monty most have thankless parts, including the underappreciated Hope as the mom and the criminally neglected Johnson). And what is it about the psyche of Canadian filmmakers that makes it so hard for them to write about ingratiating people? Look for former TV journalist Sheldon Turcot as a TV reporter (he passed away only a few months after this aired). sc: Seni Chellas (story Chellas and Gail Collins). dir: David Wellington. 92 min.

DEAD AWAKE  * * *  setting: USA.
(2001) Stephen Baldwin, Macha Grenon, Michael Ironside, Edward Yankie, Janet Kidder, Maxim Roy, Claudia Ferri, Karen Elkin, Frank Schorpion.....An American insomniac (Baldwin) gets caught up in strange twists and turns when he witnesses a late night murder...and then finds himself considered the chief suspect. With a generic title and low-level American star, this could easily be dismissed as another bland straight-to-video thriller...but it's a surprisingly eccentric, comic thriller, that plays around with chronology and expectations. A little confusing at times, as it rushes through some explanations, but definitely worth a look. Lots of quirky characters and decent performances -- particularly Grenon and Ironside (both in slightly smaller parts than their billing would suggest) who give delightfully atypical performances as inhabitants of an all-night diner the hero frequents. That's Conrad Pla as the transvestite hooker. sc: Terry Abrahamson. dir: Marc S. Grenier. - violence; brief female nudity; sexual content.- 99 min.

(1998) (/Czec Republic) Matt Frewer, C. Thomas Howell, Colin Cunningham, Monika Schnarre, Rachel Hayward, Robert Russel, Jim Thorburn, Lucie Zednickova, Gerard Whelan.....In a future where earth has become uninhabitable and humans live in an orbiting (American) space station (most in suspended animation) hoping to figure a way to revitalize the planet, a megalomaniac (Frewer) and his gang take over the station, leaving a lone soldier (Cunningham) to try and stop them. Low-budget sci-fi action flick isn't very good...but is the sort of B-movie where, if you stick with it, you can find yourself noting it has good aspects to it, like generally decent actors (particularly Cunningham, not usually cast as heroic leads), some okay, off- beat scenes (like one in an elevator shaft, or one involving deactivating a computer in ice water) and, surprisingly, a sense of humour (hit and miss, sometimes seeming as though the director stepped out for a smoke and the actors started winging it) and even some effectively sensitive scenes between Cunningham and Schnarre as his scientist girlfriend. Heck, Schnarre even appears, briefly, in her underwear! There's even a sense that it wants to be a real science fiction movie...when it's not being "Die Hard"-in-space, with the grungy sets, second hand combat fatigues and excessive brutality one expects from producer Lloyd A. Simandl. All of which doesn't combine to make an entertaining movie...but it does make you think how it could've been a better movie if the filmmakers themselves had aimed a little higher. Prominently billed American actor Howell has a supporting part (despite his billing), but a pivotal supporting part. sc: Christopher Hyde, Andrew McEvoy, Nicholas Racz. dir: Robert Lee. - violence.- 101 min.

DEAD INNOCENT * * setting: P.Q.
(1997) Genevieve Bujold, Nancy Beatty, Graham Greene, Emily Hampshire, Jonathan Scarfe, Lynne Adams.....Workaholic defence lawyer (Bujold) is held hostage in her own apartment via video surveillance by a vengeful psycho who has kidnapped her daughter. Despite the heavyweight cast, this has the look and feel (and premise) of a low-budget affair, including a sluggish rhythm at times. The middle of the film is more unpleasant than suspenseful (like a lot of "hostage" movies), but generates some thrills in the last half (think of it as *1/2 plus **1/2 averaging out to **). Kudos, though, for a movie like this both to get an all-Canuck cast and to actually be set in Canada! Actress Botsford's feature directing debut. sc: Dolores Payne, Mort Pattigo. dir: Sara Botsford. - violence.- 92 min.

(2003-2005) (/U.S.)  * * 1/2  Ellen Muth ("George Lass"), Laura Harris ("Daisy Adair"), Callum Blue ("Mason"), Jasmine Guy ("Roxy"), Mandy Patinkin ("Rube"), Cynthia Stevenson ("Joy Lass"), Greg Kean ("Clancy Lass"), Britt McKillip ("Reggie Lass"), with Christine Willes ("Dolores Herbig").....Comedy-drama/fantasy about a young woman who dies...and is, reluctantly, recruited to be a Grim Reaper...a being that frees souls by touching a person just moments before death. Despite being undead, she still has a corporeal form, meaning she needs a day job and a place to live, resulting in all the usual trials and tribs of life, except that she also is required to help others pass over into the next world. Blue, Guy and Harris play fellow Grim Reapers -- Harris joined the cast a few episodes iinto the show as a deceased 1940s starlet with a penchant for using her fate for money-making schemes, replacing Rebecca Gayheart. Patinkin plays their wise n' weary chief. Stevenson, Kean and McKillip play "George"'s parents and kid sister, still dealing emotionally with her death, unaware she's kind of still alive (she looks different to their eyes in her new guise). Willes plays the relentlessly up-beat floor manager at Happy Time, where "George" works. Of the main cast, only Harris is Canadian, of the supporting cast, Kean, McKillips and Willes are Canadian. 

Cut a little from the same cloth as shows like "Touched by an Angel" and the Canadian Twice in a Lifetime, in that it's about otherworldly agents touching the lives of others...but made for cable, it's a quirkily askew, black humoured version of those sort of feel good shows, with plenty of profanity. In truth, the series seems more than a little inspired by "Six Feet Under", the quirkily askew, black-humoured, surprise critical hit about life at a funeral home. If so, the makers of this show seemed to focus on the macabre aspects of that previous series, not realizing that was only a small part of the show's overall make-up. Here, they seem to relish parading out endless, often "comically" grisly ways people can die without backing it up with quite the same smarts as "Six Feet Under". The series' point is basically to use the premise as a not-so-subtle coming of age story, with George as a young adult slacker who dies...and finds she now must accept all the adult responsibilities she hoped to avoid, with greeting card-style life lessons carefully spelled out for us in the wry voiceover. Taken in measured doses, the series can be funny, even witty, with a decent cast, with Muth inparticular quite good as a surly misanthrope with a heart. But it can also get tired very quickly, sliding from clever to cutesy with rapidity. It just ain't half as smart as it thinks it is. And the metaphor at the show's heart can be problematic. Sure, it's supposed to be about a teen learning you sometimes have to do things you don't want to, but with Patinkin grimly slapping her down (verbally) every time she questions the will of God (or whoever) it can also be viewed as an unfortunate paen to fascism, where our heroine -- and, by extension, the viewer -- is assured there's nothing wrong with "just following orders". Created by Bryan Fuller (who left the series early when, supposedly, the executives wanted the stories to focus more on the characters and lives (or deaths) the Grim Reapers impact on, and not just the Reapers themselves). Fuller later created the stylistically very similar, short-lived, "Wonderfalls". Hour long episodes, shown in Canada on The Movie Network. 


(1997-1999) (/U.S.) * * 1/2 .....Western anthology/semi-supernatural telling various stories set in the American wild west loosely connected by the presence of a cursed gun. American actor/singer Kris Kristofferson provided the voice-over introductions.

This TV series was another one that wasn't bad enough to be called bad...but neither was it really good enough to be good. The episodes were good-looking and well acted, but the plots were often too thin and insubstantial for an hour, saying all they were going to say long before the half-way mark (a problem plaguing a number of recent hour-long anthologies) not to mention suffering from a seeming inability to entirely write dramas anymore (y'know, a story with a beginning, middle and logical resolution, with character progression and thematic threads). Even memorable episodes tended to falter. Like one with American Henry Winkler (who was the series' executive producer) as a harmless nebbish who cons his way into being Sheriff of a small town -- an episode that was truly sweet and charming...but rambling and thin on plot. Still, there were some O.K. episodes.

Made originally for an American cable station, with the added raciness popular in a lot of cable series, even to point of having nudity in some episodes (though not all -- and that was largely dropped for the second season). Most episodes featured an imported American actor in the lead role, but some had all-Canadian casts. Ironically, some of the better episodes were the all-Canadian ones like "Snake Fingers" about a safe cracker with Matt Craven, Christianne Hirt and Duncan Fraser and "Sisters of Mercy" with Susan Hogan about con artists pretending to be nuns. Created by Howard Spielman and Ed Spielman. Two seasons of hour long episodes first which aired in Canada in 1999 on Space (despite only loosely qualifying as fantasy), then quickly it moved to Showcase where it aired, uncut, even in early hour timeslots.

DEAD MEN TALK  a.k.a. The Breakthrough

DEAD OF NIGHT * * 1/2 setting: USA.
(1972) John Marley, Lynn Carlin, Richard Backus, Henderson Forsythe, Anya Ormsby, Jane Daly, Michael Mazes.....A family rejoices when their presumed dead son (Backus) returns home from Vietnam, only he's acting pretty weird and is really a kind of vampire/zombie. Sometimes slow, sometimes ham-handed to the point of silliness, but other times, a genuinely kind of creepy low-budget little horror flick (with maybe a shade or two of Jacobs' "The Monkey's Paw"). Given a boost by the obvious allegorical implications and some deeper-than-to-be-expected characterization. Forsythe is memorable as a local doctor. a.k.a. Deathdream. sc: Alan Ormsby. dir: Bob Clark. - violence.- 90 min.

DEAD RINGERS * * * setting: Ont.
(1988) Jeremy Irons, Genevieve Bujold, Heidi von Palleske, Barbara Gordon, Shirley Douglas, Stephen Lack.....Unstable twin gynecologists (Irons), who share everything, find their interdependent relationship being disrupted when one falls in love with a troubled actress (Bujold). Melancholy psychological drama marks Cronenberg's shift from his violent-horror films. Strong performances from Irons and Bujold (in essentially a supporting role) and haunting, gothic atmosphere help to counteract the slow pacing. Impressive twin f/xs. Jill Hennessey makes her film debut (with her real life twin sister) as twin hookers. Won ten Genies including Best Picture, Actor (Irons), Director and Adapted Script. sc: David Cronenberg, Norman Snider (from the book Twins by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland). dir: David Cronenberg. - sexual content, partial female nudity, extreme violence.- 115 min.

DEAD SILENCE * * 1/2 setting: USA.
(1997) (/U.S.) James Garner, Kim Coates, Marlee Matlin, Charles Martin Smith, Kenneth Welsh, Lolita Davidovich, James Villemaire, Gary Basaraba, Barclay Hope, Vanessa Vaughan, Blu Mankuma, Mimi Kuzyk.....Escaped killers (led by Coates) take a busload of deaf children hostage, including their teacher (Matlin), in a broken down slaughter house in rural U.S.A., and a hard-nosed F.B.I. negotiator (Garner) must try to resolve things. Made-for-cable-TV suspenser is pretty blah and mild in the suspense department, but squeaks by on slickness, a competent ensemble cast, and a general briskness to the story that keeps it from dragging. But the characterization is pretty unsurprising and the overall result simple-minded. sc: Donald Stewart (from the novel A Maiden's Grave by Jeffery Deaver). dir: Donald Petrie Jr. - violence.- 99 min.

DEAD SILENT * * 1/2 setting: USA.
(1998) Catherine Mary Stewart, Rob Lowe, Arlen Aguayo-Stewart, Larry Day, Mark Camacho, Allen Altman, Sean Devine.....Workaholic American medical intern (Stewart) finds herself the reluctant guardian of her niece (Aguayo-Stewart), who hasn't spoken since the murder of her parents -- and the killers still seem to be after her. American actor Lowe plays her neighbour. Mix of suspense and character drama improves as it goes along, though still suffers from the static pacing of a lot of straight-to-video flicks (not helped by the leden musical score) and a few too many dumb, implausible scenes that keep it from being more than O.K. sc: Ed Fitzgerald, Paul Koval. dir: Roger Cardinal. - brief sexual content.- 95 min.

DEADBOLT * * setting: USA.
(1992) Justine Bateman, Adam Baldwin, Michele Scarabelli, Chris Mulkey, Cyndi Pass, Anthony Sherwood, Ellen Cohen, Colin Fox, Amy Fulco.....After a burglary, an American woman (import Bateman) advertises for a male roomie -- and gets the perfect guy (import Baldwin): considerate, quiet, handsome...and possessively psychotic. Pedestrian time-filler borrows shamelessly from similar suspensers -- but even the cliches lack flare. Competent performances, though most of the cast have just tiny parts and Sherwood's amounts to a cameo. sc: Mara Tafficante, Frank Rehwaldt. dir: Douglas Jackson. - violence.- 94 min.

DEADLY APPEARANCES * * 1/2 setting: Ontario
(2000) Wendy Crewson, Victor Garber, Robert Hays, Domini Blythe, Simon Callow, Kevin Hicks.....Amateur detective Joanne Kilbourn (Crewson) investigates when a politician and longtime friend (Hays) is accused of murder. Second made-for CTV Joanne Kilbourn Mystery has some weaknesses in characterization and plausibility, but is overall a well-acted, reasonaby entertaining whodunnit. sc: R.B. Carney (from the novel by Gail Bowen). dir: George Bloomfield. - app. 90 min.

DEADLY ARRANGEMENT  * * 1/2  setting: USA.
(1998) Michael Ironside, Currie Graham, Lori Petty, Patricia Charbonneau, George Buza, Paul Coeur, Richard Riehle, Kevin McNulty, Jacqueline Samuda.....American police detectives (Ironside and Graham) investigate a drug rip-off and murder in which a crucial witness (Petty) -- a stripper -- used to know one of them.. Convoluted suspense-drama (the above synopsis is just the bare bones) has star-turned-writer-director Ironside investing the scenes and characters with more intelligence and dimension than the average straight-to-video thriller. But the basic plot is a little run-of-the-mill, and structurally it seems more like a good novel, with lots of characters and plot threads, but as a movie it could use some tightening and focus. A good watch, just not a great one. A follow up to One of Our Own. American actress Petty, though not perhaps to everyone's taste, brings her usual quirk to her role. a.k.a. Bad Blood. sc./dir: Michael Ironside. - violence.- 98 min.

DEADLY COMPANION a.k.a. Double Negative

DEADLY CURRENTS  * * * setting: other
(1991).....Documentary explores, through interviews, the Palestinian- Israeli conflict in modern Israel. Fascinating, enthralling film interviews moderate doves to fanatics on both sides. Though some felt the film tended to sensationalize and over-emphasize the militants. dir: Simcha Jacobovici. 114 min.

DEADLY DESCENT  * 1/2 setting: B.C.
(1987) Damian Lee, David Mitchell, Sonja Belliveau, Paul Coufos, Donny Lalonde, Franco Columbu.....When his brother is killed making a dangerous descent, a ski photographer (Lee) decides to tackle the slope himself. An interesting attempt at realism, but ultimately this film will only be of interest to ski-buffs -- if then. sc: Daniel Lynch, Armand Leo. dir: Damian Lee.

DEADLY EYES * setting: USA.
(1982) (/U.S.) Sam Groom, Sara Botsford, Lisa Langlois, Scatman Crothers, Lesleh Donaldson, James B. Douglas, Cec Linder.....A murderous colony of rats the size of small dogs begins to secretly infest New York, involving a high school teacher (American actor Groom) and a health inspector (Botsford). Despite the effort needed to mount a motion picture, it can feel as though the filmmakers are barely trying with this horror flick. It wastes (I mean spends) a lot of scenes away from the rats with the characters, without bothering to really develop that part of the story or the personalities (a sub-plot with Langlois as a pretty student with a crush on the teacher never really goes anywhere, considering how much screen time it occupies)...and then spends (or wastes) a lot of time with the killer rats scenes, without really making them that suspenseful (or having much impact on the plot, as a number of the dead seem to go unreported). Poor dialogue and it's confusingly put together, not always clear how or when one scene follows another (is it a few minutes later...or a few days later?) Still, kudos to Groom: when he's on screen, the movie can almost threaten to work. The rats are a mix of puppets that look like rejects from The Muppet Show, and dachshunds in rat costumes (which are actually kind of adorable as they waddle down the tunnels). Look for Michael Hogan as a subway cop. The first of two Canadian-made monster-rat movies released around that time -- the other being Of Unknown Origin. a.k.a. Rats. sc: Charles Eglee, with Lonon Smith (from the novel Rats by James Herbert). dir: Robert Clouse. - extreme violence, sexual content, partial female nudity.- 87 min.

DEADLY HARVEST * * 1/2 setting: Ont.
(1976) Clint Walker, Gary Davies a.k.a. Geraint Wyn Davies, David Brown, Nehemiah Persoff, Jim Henshaw, Dwayne McLean, Kim Cattrall, Dawn Greenhalgh, Tami Tucker, John Stoneham, Jan Rubes.....A world wide food shortage puts a farming community at risk from maurauders. So-so suspenser suffers from uneven performances and general low-budget clunkiness, but manages to sustain interest and even be kind of provocative and disturbing in its implications. Intelligent characterization. Davies, in one of his earliest screen roles, is quite good. sc: Martin Lager. dir: Timothy Bond. - violence.- 86 min.

DEADLY HOPE * * setting: USA.
(2012) (/U.S.) Alana de la Garza, Sandrine Holt, Tim Campbell, Dan Jeannotte, John Reardon, Vincent LeClerc.....When her business partner (and ex-lover) is murdered, an American obstetrician (American de la Garza) finds she's both a possible suspect and a potential next victim. Made-for-TV mystery/thriller is one of those competently-made programmers that isn't really bad...but isn't really that good, either. De la Garza is personable enough and, hey, she and Holt (the co-lead as the detective investigating) are easy on the eyes, but neither are really given much character to work with (Holt's basically just supposed to be gruff). And it's rather slow-moving for a "thriller." As I say, competently-made enough to not be "bad", without really jumping any bars to be "good." sc: Richard M. Dumont. dir: Nicolas Monette. 86 min.

DEADLY ISOLATION  * *  setting: USA.
(2004) Sherilyn Fenn, Nicholas Lea, Andreas Apergis, Marcel Jennin, Sara Bradeen.....Suspecting their dead ex-partner stashed some stolen loot in his house in a small island town, a couple of dangerous American thieves decide to try and find it by one of them (Lea) ingratiating himself with the dead man's widow (Fenn). Suspense-drama is slick enough put together, with mostly good performances (though import Fenn is problematic -- not terrible, but not great either), buut spends so much time with him wooing kind of forgets to be a thriller, and though the scenes between Fenn and Lea are okay, they aren't sufficiently compelling as a drama to compensate. Not terrible, but a generic version of a familiar premise without much to distinguish itself. sc: David Rosenfelt. dir: Rodney Gibbons. 88 min.

DEADLY PURSUIT * 1/2 setting: USA.
(1984) Doug Stone, Russell Ferrier, Laura Centeno, Craig Williams.....A crazed Vietnam vet seeks revenge against the U.S. soldiers responsible for his friends' deaths, eventually going after a group of them at a war games camp. O.K. action/thriller is undone by its shoe-string budget. Filmed on video. An Emmeritus-CHCH production.

(1991) Michael Ironside, Christopher Bondy, Susan Almgren, Vlasta Vrana, David Carradine, Chip Ciupka, Michael McGill.....A narcotics surveillance job is complicated by the bickering between the two U.S. cops (Ironside and Bondy) and the fact that the latter is involved with the suspect (Almgren). Serio-comic suspenser suffers from a sluggish rhythm and pacing which tends to undermine the decent performances and funny bits. Notable, though, for the fact that unlike most Canadian movies of this ilk, the lead characters are actually played by Canadian actors! In fact, imported Carradine has only a couple of scenes as their chief. sc: Hall Salven, Paul Ziller. dir: Paul Ziller. - partial female nudity and brief male nudity, extreme violence.- 93 min.

DEAF AND MUTE * * setting: P.Q.
(1986) Armand Laroche, Tara Workman, Lory Berger, Rodney Lefevre, Bertha Weizman.....A group of eccentric tenants join together to fight their landlord who's trying to force them out with the help of a couple of thugs -- one deaf and the other mute. Off-beat comedy can't quite cut it due to inexperienced performers, but it still manages some chuckles. sc: Howard Tessler, Hunt Hoe dir: Hunt Hoe. 79 min.

DEAR JOHN * 1/2 setting: CDN.
(1988) Valerie Buhagiar, Stan Lake, Thomas Rickert, Daniel MacIvor, David MacLean, Evelyn Kaye, William Beddoe.....Story of the relationship between two prostitutes, a novice (Buhagiar) and a bi-sexual transvestite (Lake). Gritty drama about various people on society's fringes seems well-meant, but lacks sufficient plot -- it tries to throw in suspense near then end, but to no avail. Its main weakness, though, is that it's just too long. Not just the movie, but each individual scene needs serious trimming. Too bad. Lake, inparticular, is notable. sc./dir: Catherine Ord (from a short film by Ord and William MacKay). 108 min.

Death and Deliverance, the non-fiction book by Robert Mason Lee, was turned into the CTV TV movie Ordeal in the Arctic

(2004) (/U.K.) Alice Krige, Jessica Pare, Brendan Fletcher, Greg Lawson, Leslie Hope, Meghan Black, Barclay Hope.....Story of Nancy Eaton (Pare) -- of the Eatons -- and her mentally unstable childhood friend, Andrew Leyshon-Hughes (Fletcher), and how he eventually brutally murdered her in a senseless assault. Made-for-CTV docudrama is slick-looking, with a good cast, but is no more than a lurid, True Crime expose. Although there's some provocative material when dealing with the medical profession, and its inability to properly treat, or even diagnose, Andrew's problems, it's basically akin to watching a train wreck where even the filmmakers, in some dialogue, suggest there's no point or message to be gleaned from the events. Typically, it's more about Fletcher's character than Pare's, but either way, it's a tragedy but doesn't really have enough -- plot-wise or character-wise -- to make a movie. And they probably wouldn't have made it if she hadn't been an Eaton. Ciccoritti's directing tricks range from self-indulgent. Import Krige plays Eaton's mother. Fletcher received the Best Actor Gemini. sc: William Scoular (from the book A Question of Guilt by William Scoular and Vivian Green). dir: Jerry Ciccoritti. 90 min.

DEATH COMES TO TOWN (TVMS)  see The Kids in the Hall Present Death Comes to Town

DEATH DO US PART * 1/2 setting: USA.
(2014) Julia Benson, Peter Benson, Emilie Ullerup, Christine Chatelain, Kyle Cassie, Benjamin Ayres, Dave Collette, Aaron Douglas.....A group of family n' friends go to a remote cottage for a co-ed bachelor party week-end, but each has their own secrets, and eventually a killer starts killing them off. "Friends gather at a remote cottage" is such a cliché of horror/thrillers (and even comedy/dramas!) that it begs some spin on the convention to justify recycling it. Unfortunately -- this doesn't seem to bother coming up with one (the fact that this Canadian movie pretends it's set in the U.S. alerts you they aren't interested in testing conventions). Co-written and produced by two of its stars, it has a perfectly decent cast. But one can't decide if it's trying to be a revisionist, slyly funny spin on horror/thriller conventions and doesn't quite succeed, or whether it's taking itself seriously and really doesn't succeed. But it's often more silly than scary -- and not always in a way that you feel you're laughing with the filmmakers. Odd, obnoxious characters (presumably so everyone is a suspect) means it's hard to care about anyone, and with unconvincing dialogue and characterization. The chills aren't very chilling, nor the humour (when intentional) that funny. Picks up in the last Act a bit, when it finally turns into a full-on thriller, and the dialogue seems a bit more obviously intended to be quirky. But still -- more miss than hit. Made in 2012. sc: Ryan Copple, Peter Benson, Julia Benson. dir: Nicholas Humphries. - extreme violence; sexual content.- 89 min.

DEATH IN HOLLYWOOD * 1/2 setting: USA.
(1985) Phil Rush, Elizabeth Leslie, Doug Stone, Simon Richard, Mari Welsh.....Flamboyant, practical-joking film director (Rush), trying to make a comeback, may or may not have committed murder. Shoe-string budget "Sleuth" styled movie has some genuine twists but is undermined by a rambling plot and so-so performances. Filmed on video. An Emmeritus-CHCH production. a.k.a. Death Stalks Beverly Hills. sc: Peter Warren. dir: Larry Pall.

(1980) (/U.K.) Richard Crenna, George Kennedy, Nick Mancuso, Sally Ann Howes, Kate Reid, Saul Rubinek.....Survivors of a sunk liner board a mysterious black ship that turns out to be a haunted Nazi torture boat. Rubinek gets killed off early but the rest of the solid cast has to suffer through this unpleasant, and frankly inept, horror flick. Dialogue (and accompanying characterization) seems almost non-existent and the characters' behaviour irrational. sc: John Robins. dir: Alvin Rakoff. - extreme violence, brief female nudity.- 91 min.

DEATH STALKS BEVERLY HILLS a.k.a. Death in Hollywood

DEATH TARGET a.k.a. Sentimental Reasons

DEATH WISH V: The Face of Death  * * 1/2 setting: USA.
(1994) (/U.S.) Charles Bronsan, Lesley-Anne Down, Robert Joy, Michael Parks, Chuck Shamata, Saul Rubinek, Miguel Sandoval, Erica Lancaster, Kenneth Welsh.....When his girlfriend (Down) is injured at the order of her mobster ex-husband (Parks), a former vigilante (Bronsan) decides to take the law into his own hands. Canadian made sequel to the U.S. movies follows the usual routinue: bad guys go around doing violent things to people for the first half, then Bronsan goes around doing violent things to them in the second. O.K., though no one's going to win any Genies for it (though Parks inparticular does a good job) with some attempts at quirkiness. But be forewarned, it rates as high as it does simply because the revenge genre doesn't engender great expectations to begin with. sc./dir: Allan Goldstein (story Michael Colleary, Goldstein). - extreme violence, partial female nudity.- 95 min.

DEATHDREAM a.k.a Dead of Night

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