Its 2:58 am
On my recent visits to Family Video,I started noticing a new batch of horror films with stickers that say “Shudder! Exclusive” on the slipcovers. Now I have heard of the Shudder streaming channel and that its fast rising in popularity but I wasn’t aware of them put out any films themselves.
So I took a peek and I was right,while Shudder! releases aren’t from the channel,they are being distributed by RLJE Films.
Now the cheetah and I definitely know about RLJE,they have released some some outstanding action films in the last 3-4 years. The cheetah and I have reviewed 4 of their films here on the blog and have watched many more. When I started poking around about RLJE,I discovered that they (and Shudder!) are owned by AMC Networks. AMC owns not only AMC Theaters but AMC the TV network which The Walking Dead among others are shown and they also own my favorite film distributor,IFC Films and IFC Midnight.
By the looks of it,it appears that AMC is going to split RLJE Films into two sections,the more serious fare under RLJE and the fun horror driven releases underneath RLJE Shudder!. This is the same format that IFC Films uses to great use with IFC Midnight.
With all that under my belt,I decided to buy my first RLJE/Shudder film and I picked “DeadTectives” which was made in 2018 but just now is being released. I knew nothing about it so it was a complete blind buy…..
The film starts off a group of friends who have a paranormal reality TV show. They put on a show for the people who think their homes are being haunted by ghosts. The cast of characters is led by Sam (Chris Geere) and his wife/producer Kate (Tina Ivlev). They are joined by Javier (Jose Maria de Tavira) and Kate’s brother Lloyd (David Newman) who is the only one in the group who believes in ghosts.
These four comprise the show “DeadTectives” and while they have been on for years,ratings are dropping and the network wants to cancel the show after they do a season finale.
The network suit who is responsible for the show wants to fire Javier and Lloyd and unknown to Sam,Kate has taken another job on a fishing show.
But he needs the season finale so he assigns a new producer in Abril (Martha Higareda) and Bob (Mark Riley) a master of special effects.
But Sam refuses and reminds the suit that if Sam goes down,so will the suit as the network will blame him for “DeadTectives” failure. The two men reach a deal,Sam and his team get a last shot to redeem themselves but they have to take Abril and Bob. Sam agrees and then the suit sends them to Mexico to check out one of the most haunted houses in the world.
Once they get to the house,they all work to set up the house while Abril supervises. Soon its time to start filming but when the team discovers that the house is truly haunted and out for blood as Bob and Javier are both killed by an angry spirit. While Bob walks into his light,Javier misses his train and is left a ghost himself.The rest of the crew fight to stay alive while they figure what is going on. They find find help from a most unexpected source but can their allies be trusted or is it a trick designed to create company for their unfriendly host?
Now its up the Javier and the one true believer,Lloyd to save everyone before they join Javier in becoming both dead and stranded….and one more thing,ghosts CAN be killed twice!!!
So did the cheetah and I like our first Shudder! film? Hell yeah we did!! “DeadTectives” instantly brought to mind “The Frightners” but with a much lighter touch,this is a horror-comedy and a very good one at that. Writer-director Tony West (along with 3 other co-writers) provides both laughs and some real scares as he pokes fun at all those so called “paranormal” shows that ruled cable TV for a bit.
The chemistry with the cast is very good. You can see the sadness in Kate’s eyes and voice as Sam,who once believed in what they were doing,has become cyanical and hardened and it has affected their marriage. Sam knows but he can’t figure a way to get back who he was until its almost too late.
The real scene stealer is Newman as Lloyd,the one true believer who has to rise out of everyone’s shadow,he has the wits and equipment but will he have the courage to use them to save his friends and sister?
One of the stars is the house and it acts as a character in of itself which adds a sense of both dread and wonderment as the team is bounced and chased all through this giant mansion.
Because the focus is on the humor,the gore is played down…there are a couple of bloody scenes but they used to propel the story and not for shock value.
All in all,this was a very fun first Shudder film and I know I will be looking for these as I can find them. While not quite up to IFC Midnight standards,if RLJE/Shudder continues to put out quality films like “DeadTectives”,they soon have their own space in the horror market.
“DeadTectives” should be considered a “R” rating and its runtime is 92 minutes. There are no special features and that is something that RLJE will have to address going forward,horror fans love the special features with their films.
You can check out RLJE Films by going to their website….
The cheetah and I gave “DeadTectives” 2 thumbs/paws straight up.
Which horror-comedy is your favorite? Post it in the comment box below!!
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