Dead End 2003 Movie Scene Ray Wise as Frank shining a light to a dead body on the road while the rest of the family is in the back

Dead End [2003]

If you want to watch an original and weird horror movie, Dead End must be your choice. It features an authentic story, an intense atmosphere, and even a few laughs. Plus, the whole thing is happening on Christmas Eve! However, I would say that Dead End has a distinctly European feel to it. Something subversive and a bit artistic, a thing you rarely see in formulaic American horror. Perhaps something to do with the fact that the French duo Jean-Baptiste Andrea and Fabrice Canepa wrote and directed this movie. Subtle dark humor lightened the strange and surreal situations. Couple this with the whole dysfunctional family thing and you got yourself quite a movie. Also, did I mention that most of the movie is taking place inside a car? I must have as it adds this claustrophobic, pressure cooker vibe to the atmosphere.

Dead End actually feels like one of those great X-Files or Twilight Zone episodes. It’s creative, engaging and it will definitely keep your attention for eighty short minutes. It also taps into some powerful and well-known myths about driving down the poorly lit and strange road during the night. I’m sure you’ve heard of a couple of them. When you consider all this and just how many different motives are in play here you realize that this is an incredibly well-crafted movie. Something that movie fans quickly recognized as this movie earned a whopping $77 million on DVD sales. The cast was great, led by two seasoned actors, Ray Wise, and Lin Shaye. You surely remember Lin from such hits as Kingpin and Detroit Rock City. The youngins were also pretty solid and convincing. 

It’s Christmas Eve and Frank Harrington is trying to reach his parents’ house, driving his family along with his daughter’s boyfriend, where they are expecting them for a traditional Christmas dinner. He’s running late, so he takes a shortcut through the woods and this is where strange things start to happen.

Basically a road trip movie, Dead End reminded me of another movie that employs a similar plot: Retroactive. The former is a much darker and dare I say, funnier movie. The actors really nailed their parts here and soon you will feel like you know this family, hell, you’ve known them for years. However, they are now on a road to hell and you are sitting comfortably at your house.

Minute by minute, Dead End will carefully and patiently keep drawing you in, until you’re completely immersed in this masterpiece. A masterpiece that you’re going to remember. That fucking scene with Lin Shaye scratching her head is just pure fucking gold. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Dead End, I recommend you check out our selection of Movies About Driving

Directors: Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Fabrice Canepa

Writers: Jean-Baptiste Andrea, Fabrice Canepa

Cast: Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Mick Cain, Alexandra Holden, Amber Smith, Steve Valentine

Fun Facts: At the end of the end credits, there’s this message: “To everyone still with us at the end of these credits, thank you! God bless you. You sure do like Movies!”


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