A great horror movie makes more of an impression on the psyche than any other kind of film. Hell, even a bad horror flick can scar you for life. There’s a phrase that every seasoned horror fan loves to hear: “Have you ever seen . . . ?” For the next 31 days, John E. Meredith will unearth some of his personal favorites that fell through the cracks, that are not so obvious, the kind that might even sneak up on you while you’re trying to sleep. Dead End 2003, USA/France. Written and directed by Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa. Starring Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Alexandra Holden, Mick Cain. It starts with Laura nagging at Frank about how much her mother hates when they are late. Frank is complaining about his son Richards Marilyn Bronson CDs (“Um, that’s Marilyn Manson, Dad.” “Whatever her name is.”). Richard retreats back into his headphones, wishing they would stop somewhere so he could smoke another joint. He flips the middle finger at his sister Marion’s boyfriend, crammed into the backseat next to him. Smashed up against the other door, Marion feels her stomach churning again and wishes she were anywhere but here, with these people. Welcome to the most terrifying scenario that has ever taken place in a horror movie, a long car ride with the family. While everyone else snoozes, Frank is starting to nod off behind the wheel too. Every blink of his eyes is longer, longer, closer to sleep, until his head starts to droop. BOOM! A flurry of lights and horns and screams. The car is thrashing this way and that, flying across the road to come screeching to a halt on the opposite side. Richard immediately looks up and says, “Are we there yet?” Although they seem to have narrowly missed a head-on collision, Laura is most concerned that the pie is ruined. She wants to know what happened to the Interstate. Frank says that he thought they would take the back roads, that it might help keep him awake. And these are some serious back roads . . . From above, the car looks like a child’s toy, pushing onward into an unending sea of trees and stars. There is a sense of vastness and the unknown as we gaze down upon this one small light moving further into the darkness. The forest that surrounds them flies past and past, blurring into a deep and shadowy sameness. When a road sign does finally appear, it only appears again and again as the miles stretch on. There is more than just family tension and festering resentments fueling this journey into hell. DEAD END invokes the spirit of urban legends, even beyond the presence of a spectral woman in white and the recurring appearance of a long black sedan. It’s also reminiscent of the films of David Lynch, from the yellow lines of the road floating hypnotically beneath the car to the casting of TWIN PEAKS’ Ray Wise as Frank. Lin Shaye is excellent here as well, playing a more neurotically domestic version of her character from the INSIDIOUS movies. Everything will be okay if the family can sing ‘Jingle Bells’ together and the pie makes it to her mother’s house. While the ending is not as good as the rest of the movie, it still serves as a kind of reminder that the destination isn’t always as important (or as darkly, deliriously fun) as the journey. See larger image Dead End IT’S CHRISTMAS EVE & LIKE EVERY YEAR, THE HARRINGTON’S TAKE A TRIP TO THEIR IN-LAWS TO CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS. TAKING AN UNFAMILIAR SHORTCUT, MR HARRINGTON MAKES THE BIGGEST MISTAKE OF HIS LIFE, LEADING HIS FAMILY DOWN A TERROR FILLIED ROAD WITH NO END. New From: $9.31 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.