34 user 43 critic

The Living and the Dead (2006)

Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 23 September 2006 (USA)
A descent into Hell is triggered when "Ex-Lord" Donald Brocklebank finds that he must leave Longleigh House for London to find a way to pay for the medical treatments for his wife Nancy. ... See full summary »



7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Credited cast:
James Brocklebank
Donald Brocklebank
Kate Fahy ...
Nancy Brocklebank
Sarah Ball ...
Nurse Mary
Neil Conrich ...
Richard Cotton ...
nurse Mike (as Richard Wills-Cotton)
Alan Perrin ...
nurse Bob
Richard Syms ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hilary Hodsman ...
Auntie Pat


A descent into Hell is triggered when "Ex-Lord" Donald Brocklebank finds that he must leave Longleigh House for London to find a way to pay for the medical treatments for his wife Nancy. Alone, his over-protected, delusional, adult son, James, fancies himself in charge of the manor house with his terminally ill mother, and barricades the two of them into the house for a series of ever more panicked home treatments, mistakenly protecting her from the arrival of Nurse Mary and any outside help. Written by Bob Lee

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Terror by good intentions.


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

23 September 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Entre vivos y muertos  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


£650,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(European Film Market)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The Longleigh House location was once a World War I hospital, the Hawtreys School for young men, and then was run as a drug rehabilitation clinic. Local reports are that at least three ghosts, an old woman, a soldier, and a child who fell 75 feet while sliding down the banisters, still inhabit the Tottenham House near Savernake, England. See more »


[first lines]
Donald Brocklebank: [answering phone] Hello? Hello? Yes, yes I know. No, I didn't know that. No, that's not good at all. No, she doesn't know. Hmm. Hmm. Exactly. Okay, goodbye.
James: They going to make it?
Donald Brocklebank: No, they're not.
James: Can I look after mummy this time.
Donald Brocklebank: I'm not going away.
James: But you always say that, you always do.
James: [knocking] Some one's at the door!
[starts running]
Donald Brocklebank: Stop James, I said stop!
See more »

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User Reviews

Good -- but not a masterpiece.
29 July 2011 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

After seeing the list of superlatives and awards on the DVD cover, I figured that this would be a pretty safe watch. In order to keep from spoiling my enjoyment of movies, I often try to walk into them without knowing much of anything (which seems to frustrate other people sometimes when they ask what I'm watching); so, when I started watching this movie, I figured it was probably about vampires or zombies or something. Wow, was I totally wrong! It's actually more of a tragedy about mental illness than anything else, though it's also got some surrealist and absurdist elements. That might put off some people. As a huge fan of David Lynch, I recognized that the surreal scenes were kind of homages/ripoffs of his work, but, really, it didn't bother me nearly as much as it apparently did some other Lynch fans (and, of course, surrealism will always have its detractors, calling it pretentious or stupid). In particular, one dream sequence, where a character has a strange, symbolism-laden conversation with a nightmare version of Zippy the Pinhead, reminded me VERY strongly of Lost Highway. I'm sure fellow Lynch fans know the scene that I'm talking about ("That's f***ing crazy, man."). Regardless, I liked the scene, and I thought it was done well. It's always nice to see people being influenced by Lynch, even if they're taking the influence a *bit* too far, into territory that might involve lawyers, if it were a different form of media.

Moving on...

The acting was stellar. I totally bought each and every character. The directing was a bit, shall we say, stylistic. I suppose it might not be everyone's cup of tea. Again, while it was slightly derivative of the style of other directors (someone is apparently a Darren Aronofsky fanboy), I liked it. The plot was told from a combination Memento and Repulsion viewpoint, mixing the out-of-order scenes of Memento with the unreliable narrator from Repulsion. In fact, the whole movie seems to take some major hints from Repulsion, while not being nearly so much of a outright homage; instead, individual scenes and the overall theme remind me of that movie.

So, what are we left with? A rather strange potpourri of Lynch, Aronofsky, Polanksi, Nolan, and perhaps even a bit of Kubrick thrown in. Does it work? Yes. Is it highly derivative of other directors? Yes. Are there strange plot holes, that are never really explained (why is there only one phone in such a huge house, and why doesn't the wife have a cell phone? Why did the father leave before the arrival of the nurse? Why did... and so on)? Oh, yes, definitely. Perhaps you'll be able to forgive all these issues. Perhaps not. If you can, then I think you'll like this movie. It's powerful and intriguing.

If the director can make a movie that is more original, in his own style, and work on reducing the number of bizarre plot holes that make no sense, I will become a fan. He could really have a strong future.

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