I’ve seen Dead Kansas going around various blogs at the moment, and when it came through to my inbox, I was interested to see what the buzz was about – with an interesting sounding plot and a poster that looked very tongue-in-cheek, I really wanted to see what Dead Kansas had to offer. Unfortunately, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.
Check out the promo here:
Directed by Aaron K. Carter
Starring Erin Miracle, Alexandria Lightford, Aaron Guerrero, Michael Camp, Irwin Keyes and Ben Woolf
“In a post-apocalyptic land consumed by “Rottens”, a simple farmer and his teenage daughter struggle to survive. Meanwhile, an unruly gang make a plan to kidnap and sell the daughter for their own selfish profit. With the farmer/gang confrontation, a wicked tornado approaching, and “Rottens” everywhere – who will get out alive?”
With a really interesting plot and overall Grindhouse feel, Dead Kansas could have had a lot to offer. Unfortunately, I feel that it missed the mark on lots of key elements and left the overall atmosphere feeling seedy, with no exhilaration or interest. I will point out that the overall styling of the movie, with the colours and the setting really worked for what they were seemingly going for – but I just think that a lot of the ideas and themes really fell short of something that could have been an indie classic. The beginning of the movie, I found quite interesting, but the general outlook got a bit too repetitive soon after and I didn’t care much for the overall story – as I didn’t feel I really had any gripping background on why anything had happened.
I don’t think Dead Kansas helped me care for any of the characters very much, the robotic delivery of lines, the often clumsy-sounding dialogue and the choppy feel to how things were put across on screen put me off feeling anything for anyone. I was definitely excited to see Ben Woolf (Squeak) and Irwin Keyes (Giant) in here, but I really felt as if they were there for comedy relief and not much else – despite their history of some great roles. I didn’t think the dialogue helped their case much, which was a shame. I know that this started off as a web series, which would explain why it felt so choppy a lot of the time, and why things were a lot less budgeted but the actress change that occurred half way through the movie was moved past pretty quickly. Alexandria Lightford (Emma 1) soon turned into Erin Miracle (Emma 2) after a short walk, and the whole character seemed to change in personality and outfit: which seemed to go against a lot of her character traits in the first half. I had so much dislike for all of Jebediah’s (Michael Camp) group – feeling more unmoved than irritated at his character especially. Considering the rampant stereotyping that was used to give Dead Kansas that extra piece of satire (maybe), the sexism was so overdone that it just became laughable as opposed to evoking any kind of angry emotion toward the guys. The stop-and-start delivery from the actors was an unfortunate add on to the overall story.
With that being said, I genuinely thought the plot was really interesting in itself. I mentioned that it had a Grindhouse feel to it with the way it was filmed and the colours that were used – and especially with the setting and the stereotypes. I see where Aaron was coming from with Dead Kansas but I can’t help feeling that it fell flat most of the way. Maybe if they took a different angle, things would have made a little more sense, or would have captured a little more attention. Considering this movie included “Rottens” which is by all means a term for Zombies, all I saw (when I did…) were a few extras made-under to give a budget zombie look. Even the POV shots really needed some work – because I think the POV zombie shots were actually a great idea. Often the sound mixing failed to match up which was unfortunate, and it overall just felt a little messy.
I could really waffle on a lot about the pros and cons of Dead Kansas, and that would take a long time. For its entirety, I felt unimpressed, and so I’m going to give Dead Kansas 2 out of 5 skulls (☠☠). I’d suggest possibly checking it out to decide for yourself how to feel about it – you can find it on Amazon Instant Video and you can also check out the page on Facebook.
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