Movie Review – The Neon Dead (2016)

The Neon Dead
Directed by Torey Haas
Courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing
Release Date: September 13, 2016


I rolled my eyes when I first read the title of this film. I thought, “Really? THE NEON DEAD? We’ve gone from the “living” dead to “walking” dead, and now we have the “neon” dead?” I wasn’t impressed. But, since I’m a sucker for a good low-budget horror jaunt, I decided to give it a shot anyway. Wild Eye Releasing rarely steers me wrong, and I figured maybe I was judging a book by its title (I can’t say “judging a book by its cover” here because the artwork for this DVD is wickedly cool).

Sure enough, I got way more than I bargained for with THE NEON DEAD. Chocked full of quirky humor and admirable special effects, this is a film reminiscent of THE EVIL DEAD and DEAD ALIVE. And while it’s not an excellent movie, it’s still a lot of fun to watch.

If you are not familiar with THE NEON DEAD, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing:

An unemployed recent college grad hires two freelance paranormal exterminators to combat a monster infestation in her new home. But their prodding into the new evil found in the home unleashes an ancient demon and his army of monsters, intent to possess any human they make contact with.

I’m happy to report this film is better than I thought it would be. Director Torey Haas has a lot of talent, it seems, and I’m eager to see what he has in store for us next.

THE NEON DEAD is shot well and looks pretty good onscreen. The production value appears high for a low-budget film, and the production team does a good job of utilizing their funds.

The acting is surprisingly very good. Usually with low budget fare, the money is reserved for special effects and off-camera talent; not so here. I can’t speak to what the actors were paid, but they do a great job in their roles. Marie Barker shines as the headstrong monster-infested damsel, Allison, while Greg Garrison and D. Dylan Schettina give believable performances as the goofball “exterminators”.

The special effects are nice and edgy. I particularly like the use of black-lighting and digital effects to make the monsters neon bright. My sole complaint about the effects is that some of the camera shots seem to fail in hiding the fact they are being shot in black-light. I didn’t like how evident that came across, as it sort of took me out of the film.

The story in THE NEON DEAD is pretty good, and I have to tip my hat to Haas again here; the story is original, but its execution overshadows the concept. The resulting film is hokey but intense, a nice combination that reminded me of my first time watching ARMY OF DARKNESS. I can’t say THE NEON DEAD is as good as Sam Raimi’s work, but it’s a solid effort nonetheless.

THE NEON DEAD is schlocky fun, and I think horror comedy fans will enjoy it. Don’t go into it expecting to be amazed; just buckle in and enjoy the film for what it is.


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