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Dead End

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Overview

A family making their annual Christmas pilgrimage to Grandmother's house finds their journey taking an ominous turn when they attempt to take an unfamiliar shortcut in this low-key chiller from first-time director Jean-Baptiste Andrea. For 20 years, Frank Harrington (Ray Wise) has driven the same, mind-numbingly familiar route to the annual holiday gathering, but the discovery of an unfamiliar shortcut simply proves too enticing for the loving but strained father to resist. As the road grows increasingly dark, ...
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Overview

A family making their annual Christmas pilgrimage to Grandmother's house finds their journey taking an ominous turn when they attempt to take an unfamiliar shortcut in this low-key chiller from first-time director Jean-Baptiste Andrea. For 20 years, Frank Harrington (Ray Wise) has driven the same, mind-numbingly familiar route to the annual holiday gathering, but the discovery of an unfamiliar shortcut simply proves too enticing for the loving but strained father to resist. As the road grows increasingly dark, the eerie sight of a young woman carrying a small infant sets into motion a horrific series of roadside deaths that finds the family's numbers quickly dwindling. Though there are no other travelers on the long and dark stretch of road, the appearance of a menacing black hearse seems somehow connected to the spectral woman and her child. Could it be that a vengeful entity was the previous victim of a roadside accident, returning to torment any trespasser who happens to wander down her silent stretch of road, or could the answer to the horrific mystery lie deep within the conscience of one of the few remaining family-members?
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Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
French newcomer Jean-Baptiste Andrea salvages an overly familiar storyline by imbuing it with the kind of refreshing details and interesting, quirky, and sympathetic characters that will likely win over horror fans tiring from overexposure in his 2003 chiller Dead End. Anyone who has seen such films as The Hills Have Eyes or Wrong Turn knows the basic setup of "vacationing group opts to take unfamiliar shortcut with horrific results" as presented here, and though director/screenwriter Andrea does indeed utilize this well-worn premise as a means of lulling viewers into a clich├ęd hypnosis during the initial setup, Dead End soon swerves wildly off the beaten path following the all-too-predictable first death. It's at this point that Andrea begins to aspire more toward The Twilight Zone than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with the hapless family stuck on a seemingly endless stretch of abandoned road that appears to be surrounded by murderous ghosts. In addition to the supernatural slant that the storyline is given, Andrea is aided considerably in his efforts by a talented cast who aren't afraid to let loose with their characters. As Twin Peaks' Ray Wise does his fatherly best to stave off the insanity brought on by such a horrific voyage, Lin Shaye virtually steals the film as the mother whose frail grip on reality cracks early on and whose rapid mental deterioration quickly takes a turn for the worse. If young Alexandra Holden's role as the tough psychiatrist daughter is somewhat overshadowed by Wise's and Shaye's deliciously warped performances, it's certainly not for lack of trying -- and the relative newcomer does a more than adequate job at providing Dead End's mental anchor and voice of reason. The film's clever balance of laughs and chills succeeds in keeping viewers on their toes throughout, with the emphasis on psychological terror over gore only serving to heighten the tension and anticipation of what could lie around the bend ahead. As with Dead End's basic premise, the "surprise" twist ending utilized by Andrea may also be a bit overly familiar to viewers of such fare, but given the film's energy and relatively brief running time, the good eventually outweighs the bad and viewers will likely walk away satisfied -- even if they do feel like they've taken this road before.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/9/2004
  • UPC: 031398163176
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: Lions Gate
  • Region Code: 1
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:24:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 2,276

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ray Wise Frank
Alexandra Holden Marion
Lin Shaye Laura
Mick Cain Richard
Billy Asher Brad
Amber Smith Lady in white
Steve Valentine The Man in Black
Karen S. Gregan Doctor
Clement Blake 2nd worker
Jimmie F. Skaggs 1st worker
Ivan Kraljevic
Technical Credits
Jean-Baptiste Andrea Director, Screenwriter
Fabrice Canepa Director, Screenwriter
Alexander Buono Cinematographer
Yves Chevalier Executive Producer, Producer
Guy Courtecuisse Co-producer
Greg de Belles Score Composer
Kiran Gonsalves Asst. Director
Bryce Holtshousen Production Designer
James Huth Executive Producer, Producer
Amanda Koblin Casting
T.C. Thecla Luisi Makeup Special Effects
Kumura Luly Makeup
Jim Ridgley Sound/Sound Designer
Gabriella Stollenwerck Producer
Antoine Vareille Editor
Deborah Waknin Costumes/Costume Designer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Dead End [3:18]
2. Jingle All the Way [4:58]
3. Lady in White [3:43]
4. A Call for Help [4:02]
5. The Black Car [4:56]
6. Marcott [3:13]
7. 7:30 [2:27]
8. Amy's Carriage [5:46]
9. Voices [3:08]
10. Blowout [3:40]
11. "Richard Is Dead!" [4:28]
12. Laura's Downward Spiral [2:54]
13. Uncle Mike's Gift [3:15]
14. On the Road Again [4:34]
15. The Dead Speak [5:32]
16. Alan Rickson [3:55]
17. Into the Woods [2:49]
18. Back in the Car [1:42]
19. Damned [4:16]
20. Running on Empty [4:00]
21. Waking Life [2:34]
22. End Credits [3:52]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Movie
   Scene Index
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Frightfully funny

    A dysfunctional family on a road trip to hell. Can they reach their destination without killing each other? And who's that on the side of the road. I'll never tell! Keeps you guessing until the very end. It's worth the trip.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews