A Different Take on Comedy
The Civil Dead
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 44m
Director(s): Clay Tatum
Writer(s): Clay Tatum, Whitmer Thomas
Cast: Clay Tatum, Whitmer Thomas, Whitney Weir, Budd Diaz, Anna Seregina, Chris Thayer, Robert Longstreet, DeMorge Brown, Christian Lee Hutson, Teresa Lee, Anthony Oberbeck
Where To Watch: Available on demand February 17, 2023
RAVING REVIEW: THE CIVIL DEAD is a haunting and quirky film that explores the themes of loneliness and communication. This is a unique experience from an exceptional team; there’s no question as to the heart that was put behind the creation. Without question, this is a comedy for a specific audience.
Clay, an introverted photographer living in Los Angeles, after some “gentle” nudging from his wife Whitney, embarks on a journey of capturing life through his lens and trying to make a living in a gig economy. During this journey, Clay encounters his old high school friend Whit, who throws the entire film into a spiral I wasn’t expecting.
The “horror” in THE CIVIL DEAD arises from the social awkwardness that ensues as Clay tries to separate himself from the awkward relationship with Whit. The film has its brand of dark humor that, while quirky and enjoyable, may not be everyone's cup of tea. However, Clay and Whit's witty and sharp dialogue keeps the audience engaged.
The performances by the actors are noteworthy, but the screenplay could have used some sprucing up to bring out their full potential. There is no doubt about the chemistry between the cast (almost as though some have been lifelong friends.)
Production-wise, THE CIVIL DEAD shines as a low-budget indie film and a promising feature debut for writer/director Clay Tatum. The writing shines through with the witty combination of Tatum and Thomas, bringing their unique style to the screen.
In conclusion, THE CIVIL DEAD is a haunting, quirky “horror” comedy with an ending that may leave you with more questions than answers (which isn’t necessarily bad.) The uneasy friendship between Clay and Whit creates a world that takes the typical story like this and flips it on its head. Despite its flaws, it is a one-of-a-kind and unusual cinematic experience worth checking out.
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[photo courtesy of UTOPIA]