Possession movies can be pretty good if you find the right ones. If you loved the recent breakout indie flick, Luz, make sure you spend some time locating The Dead Center to watch. With a similar ethos, the story starts to get interesting when an amnesiac patient is admitted to a psych ward.
Despite different settings, both this film and Luz could be set in the same universe. If you had trouble understanding the subtext behind either movie, then watching both may assist with the idea of an entity seeking out its victims through the body of a host.
This film begins with a combination of two seemingly separate viewpoints. The investigation of a suicide and the day to day busy work at a nearby psychiatric facility. Shoved into the mix is a new patient who is nonresponsive and, no identification. After that, the staff gets to work finding a room for this new case and try to figure out how best to treat him.
Possession Movies Done Right
This is a story that is entirely creepy. With this one central character, the story explodes into a hybrid combination of zombies and possession. Caught in the line of fire is a psychiatrist, Daniel. It’s through his interactions with Michael that he begins to think there is more to him than just a case of forgetfulness. As the film travels along, there are things you know are happening but are left off-screen. When Michael’s ailment finally comes to the forefront, I was riveted to see where the story would land.
The finale is a mixture of frenetic craziness and despite Dead Center’s indie roots, the film as a whole comes off as a solid and fine example of great writing and good direction.
The cast is an ensemble of moderately known names but all do an excellent job throughout this 92-minute slice of good cinema. Those that appreciate a well proportioned and appropriate score will get more than they bargained for here. Not only does the often screechy sound effects do a bang-up job of keeping you on your toes, but there’s some great use of twitchy lighting to go with it.
Starring: Shane Carruth, Poorna Jagannathan, Jeremy Childs, and Bill Feehely.
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Production and Distribution
The Dead Center is a modest budget independent film. It comes from Sequitur Cinema who’ve only previously produced two other feature films and a short film. Their upcoming movie Saint Cloud Hill is a documentary currently in post-production. After a film festival stint, Arrow Films finally picked it up. Its release was 11th October 2019 to digital platforms.
Billy Senese is the writer-director for this horror-mystery-thriller and it’s smart and chilling. There seems to be a connection between this film and his previous two short films Intruder (2011) and The Suicide Tapes (2010) and I for one would like to get my hands on them. Especially if they give a wider vantage point to the rest of the story. Shane Carruth plays the psychiatrist Daniel but as he’s also the director, he gets bonus points for making a killer movie and playing his role just right.
Rent it cheapest on YouTube (USA)
I give The Dead Center
4 don’t suck the life out of me out of 5