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Finals at the prestigious University of Dreyskill are finally over and it's time to party. "The Crew", as they are known by their peers and dorm mates, are invited to a rich classmate's hideaway mansion high up in the hills of Colorado. What was supposed to be a weekend of fun and relaxation quickly becomes a trip they will never forget... If they survive! A simple game of prank scare phone calls becomes an intense game of survival and escape when one of the Crew members accidentally calls the wrong person. Written by
"Dead Tone" opens with a group of young children making prank phone calls while their clueless parents party and carry on in the other room. With one of the phone calls, they reach a psychopath who isn't at all happy to be bothered with their childish banter. This puts a damper on their game and they decide to go to bed. A short time later, the telephone rings. When one of the kids wakes up to answer it, he is greeted by an axe-wielding psycho- path who proceeds to murder his parents and their friends. Flash forward 10 years to a group of college students who decide to spend the weekend at the rich jock's secluded mansion for some partying and sex. All is going well when, while drunk, they decide to make prank phone calls as a game. The rule: you must keep the person on the other end for at least 75 seconds. Needless to say, they (again) reach a psychopath who ends up showing up at the secluded house with his trust axe.
The Good: "Dead Tone" is a slasher flick through and through. There is no lame attempt at comedy or self-referential moments. In fact, in resembles something that came straight from the 1980's, where slasher films were only interested in one thing: getting a bunch of teenagers together in an isolated setting and killing them off brutally. The killer, though a rip-off of the "Urban Legend" killer, is quite brutal and it doesn't take long to realize he means business. The production is top-notch and the acting is fairly decent (Rutger Hauer gives some credibility to the film). For the most part, the action is fast paced and there is no real boring parts. Once the killer arrives at the mansion, the killing and action doesn't let up.
The Bad: The script is clichéd as all get out and I swear I have some some of the exact lines uttered in this film said in countless other slasher film. Additionally, the film is VERY formulaic--it is like the screenwriter and director took a cure from "How to Make A Slasher Film in Three Easy Steps." We are even subjected to the "let's stop at the creepy old gas stations where we can get a few false scares while one of the characters ventures into the incredibly filthy bathroom and the be warned by the equally filthy and creepy gas station attendant before we speed off a tad shaken" scene. Really, the filmmakers offered absolutely nothing new to the genre and, again, this film could really be a combination of about twenty five other slasher films I have seen lately. The ending is predictable and a tad silly and unbelievable. Oh, and the main blond girl isn't that great of an actress and is definitely the weak link in the cast.
Overall: An entertaining 80's style slasher film that you just might enjoy if you go into it with no expectations. The action is brisk, there are some decent death scenes for gore hounds, and the production is nice. However, it is clichéd and you will roll your eyes at the predictably of some of the scenes, particularly the ending.
Fright Meter Grade: C+
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