DVD review: Good As Dead

Good as Dead is full of gratuitous violence.

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As Good as Dead

Director: Jonathan Mossek

Starring: Andie Macdowell, Cary Elwes, Frank Whaley

This particularly gratuitous piece of nastiness sees a seemingly unsuspecting New York family man held captive in his home and subjected to prolonged sadistic mutilations by evangelical crazies from the southern US. It's a film playing on the divisions in American society between the East Coast liberal elite and the Christian fundamentalists of the deep south, bringing the redneck violence of Burt Reynolds' The Deliverance to metropolitan New York, but with nothing of that film's awful, depraved suspense.

The weirdos are convinced our hapless hero had a hand in the killing of their fire-and-brimstone leader, and set about their pratically unwatchable methods of retribution. It quickly degenerates into the voyeuristic snuff of a video nasty, with the lead creep and his accomplices subjecting their prisoners to ever more gruesome tortures. Eyelids get sliced, pretty young girls are bound up, gagged and abused, and wife and daughter taped up and readied for slaughter. Frank Whaley, the lead torturer, has been in these kinds of roles before, and has that peculiar Southern twang, coupled with sick behaviour patterns, down pat by now.

This marks another low point in Andie Macdowell's mediocre career, while wantonly dragging the viewer into the unspeakably damaged world of its grim participants, winding up with a Reservoir Dogs-style denouement, involving chair, rope, lighter fuel et cetera, but minus the panache. There's a twist, or sting, in the tail, if your stomach lasts out, but by then, it's all rather pointless.