Synopsis from Horizon:
In the wake of an apocalyptic viral outbreak, the undead take over major cities. Charlie Russell (Joe Belknap) treks through the relative safe zone of the wilderness to reunite with his girlfriend, Samantha (Mary Lindberg). As Charlie's journey brings him closer to his destination of Wausau, WI, he must face physical exhaustion, malicious survivors, and perhaps most menacing, his growing thirst for violence.
My experience with Dead Weight has been somewhat double-sided. On one hand I feel like I'm forced into yet another tale of the little buggies that get in our bodies causing us all to undie (not like Night of the Creeps, like 28 Days Later). While Dead Weight is not a tale of zombies (like most good zombie tales) zombies are the vehicle by which the story moves and unfortunately the tale of humanities own ills being brought to light when humanity is at its most vulnerable is losing steam. Couldn't the vehicle have been magic beetles or some sort of cataclysmic tree fungus? If the undead are barely in the movie and they don't seem to drive 90% of the action then you can choose any reason for the apocalypse. Any trigger you like. That's a pet peeve, and normally from this point we would go on to talk about the action sequence overuse of CGI and how shitty the zombies looked.... except we don't have to because Dead Weight has a strong survival story with a distinct absence of computer generated hooey.
While the direct drive that sets all the events in motion in Dead Weight are contrived and obvious the characters are realistic, sympathetic and believable. Cut that with minimal action sequences i.e. zombie head shots x1000 and you've actually got some decent interactions. There's the obligatory hillbilly, backward ass-fuck rapists but conversely there's a strong female character that is able to deal with them nicely. Dead Weight is the story of personal interaction, growth in a time of where characters introvert and most of all... the tale of unchecked personal obsession. Narcissism. It's one man's attempt to find the one he loves at the cost to all others. It's not love. It's creepy, and that's what makes Dead Weight a strong film that has something more to offer an audience than a Flu-Zombie-Love-Dongle.
Perhaps I'm more critical of the viral aspect of Dead Weight because the characters in it are strong (not always the best performances but solid). With an unfamiliar drive you at least don't have me comparing it to 28 Days Later or any other viral horror pictures.
The disc itself comes with a Director's Commentary from Bartlett and Pata, an actor's commentary with Joke Belknap and Mary Lindberg as well as extended scenes, featurettes, outtakes and a trailer.
Note: 1.78:1, 16x9 English Stereo.
Tired of the zombie genre? This one actually has relatively few undead and that makes that aspect very tolerable while helping you to focus in on the good stuff (remember how The Battery didn't show the undead much and how good that was?). Most of all enjoy the performances. There's some strong ones here with some strange development, but perhaps Dead Weight is more honest then some of the more sensationalist P.A. flicks. It's not gushy romantic, and its climax is not predictable.
On a random related note, keep an eye out for my review of the book Hidden Horror which features several suggestions for overlooked or obscure horror features from the creators and/or cast of Dead Weight. Far out (and they make some interesting ones to boot).
You can order Dead Weight NOW! Available January 21st.