Friday, February 17, 2012

Dead Like Me: Life After Death

Dead Like Me: Life After Death (2009)

So I decided to give the direct to DVD sequel to the TV series Dead Like Me a whirl the other day. I bought it a while ago and only now got around to watching it. A quick note before I begin - if you've never seen the show, there is a) no point watching this movie and b) no point reading this review. The movie barely fucking made sense to me and I watched the shit out of that show. So now that's out of the way...

In the first few minutes we learn that George (Ellen Muth) has been dead for five years, Der Waffle Haus has burned down and Rube has collected his last reap and moved on to the next stage of the afterlife. So that would, according to the logic of the show, mean that whoever his last reap was would become a reaper and replace him, right? Wrong, that's never even brought up.

What does happen is a really sleazy reaper from New York (Henry Ian Cusick) shows up to takes over the group as their new leader, and then goes about fucking everything up by giving out wrong ETDs and convincing everybody but George that they can do whatever they want consequence free.

Meanwhile, George tells Reggie (Britt McKillip) that she is who she is and they sort of bond or some shit until George has to reap the douchebag she's boning (Jordan Hudyma). And Murray finally kicks the bucket, making him probably one of the longest lived cats in history.

So this movie has enough material to fuel, like, five episodes of the show, had all the different plotlines actually been given time and consideration rather than just being flung together and called a movie. In fact, it kind of seems like they crammed all of the ideas for later seasons which never got made into one big fucking mess of a film. It kind of gets caught between being just a long episode of the show and trying to be a more traditional movie, with a tradtional plot and everything. And, on both fronts, it falls flat on its face.

One of the biggest problems is the addition of a villain, which the show never needed, and who sort of gets lost in the jumble of other plot elements so that there really isn't enough time to explain his motives at all, short of saying, well he's just a dick. The best part of the movie is the reapers trying to figure out some way of killing him, but even that wasn't explored enough to reach it's full comic potential.

And even worse, there just wasn't the same (I hate to use this word but) chemistry between the actors. They didn't look like they were having fun anymore. And who can blame them? The show had been over for several years, everything just kind of lacked momentum.

Furthermore, with Rube gone and a different actor playing Daisy (Sarah Wynter) who I really didn't like very much it was just wrong... I dunno. A good show is like a good BLT. It's got toasted homemade brown bread, a little bit of mayo, fresh juicy tomato, crunchy lettuce and crispy bacon. But if you start fucking with ingredients, take away the tomato, swap the bacon for salami and leave the sandwich out for too long before you eat it, well, it's just not as good as it should be.

So all in all, unless you're a huge fan of the show and desperate to find out what happened to Reggie, I wouldn't bother watching this movie. The final episode of season two was way more satifying and conclusive. This is just sort of sloppy, uninspired and disappointing.


Directed by: Stephen Herek.  Written by: John Masius & Godchaux.  Starring: Ellen Muth, Britt McKillip, Callum Blue, Jasmine Guy, Sarah Wynter, Henry Ian Cusick, Christine Willes, Cynthia Stevenson, Jordan Hudyma, Crystal Dahl

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