Monday, August 28, 2006


In my review of Brett Kelly's SPACEMEN, GO-GO GIRLS AND THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS, I praised him for finally making a comedy. Brett is truly one of the funniest individuals on the indie film scene, but his film work has primarily been of the straightforward, horror-thriller, dramatic variety, so it was great to see him produce something more in line with his personality. His latest film MY DEAD GIRLFRIEND is a truly satisfying marriage of what Kelly does best - it's a horror comedy. Alright, man.

Steve (Kelly) is a teacher who has just moved in with his girlfriend Amy, a student with a seemingly educational interest in the occult. The couple have scarcely begun unpacking their belongings when a freak accident leaves Amy dead in Steve's panicked arms, leading him to a desperate effort at reviving her though a black magic recipe from one of her weird books. In keeping with the classic rules laid out in "The Monkey's Paw", Amy comes back to life, but she's definitely not her old self.

These days, it takes a talent like Brett Kelly to make any sort of blip on the zombie movie radar, a plot device that is exceedingly over-used, especially in the low-budget film world. Thankfully, MY DEAD GIRLFRIEND shares traits with both SHAUN OF THE DEAD and the original EVIL DEAD in terms of theme, setting and execution, and is quite entertaining. The film is most definitely a romantic comedy, just with the undead thrown in, a love story above all else, and takes place in minimal setting: a cabin in the middle of the dark woods, to be exact. This makes for close quarters that really allow the movie's strongest points to shine, a small group of well-written characters performed by a capable ensemble, all of whom are endlessly watchable. Kelly is of course perfect as the bungling Steve, trying to cover up the fact that Amy is a flesh-eater when all his buddies can see there is clearly something quite wrong with her. Caitlin Delaney's performance as the zombified title character is fittingly just as dynamic and amazing to watch, as she goes from sweet and idealistic to bloodthirsty and rotted, all the while remaining likeable and sympathetic.

MY DEAD GIRLFRIEND is, for lack of a thesaurus, fucking brilliant independent filmmaking. Delaney is a revelation, and Kelly has his craft down to a science, showcasing his firm grasp on multiple genres, but most importantly, how to glue them together without losing what is essential to both. On a personal note, I'd like to thank him for one of the best, most effective vomit sequences I've seen in a long time. Smooth. Chunky. Tasty.

According to the website (I don't have the final disc)- Cast & crew audio commentary, interviews, deleted scenes, bloopers, "the Pretty Lie" short, and trailers.


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