When Thomas Archer's happy & successful life is all but ruined following a horrific attack he is presented with a perfect opportunity to exact physical revenge upon the man who caused all ... See full summary »
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When Thomas Archer's happy & successful life is all but ruined following a horrific attack he is presented with a perfect opportunity to exact physical revenge upon the man who caused all his grief. However the immediate consequences of his actions and inactions are much more complicated than he imagined. Who will survive ? Written by
While the current trend in scary movies seems to be becoming the property of the Computer Generated Graphics industry, real terror comes from studying the possibilities of a human mind scarred by trauma. Such is the material that makes ALREADY DEAD a frightening film - a revenge story by Robert Lynn Archer transformed for the screen by Joe Chappelle and directed imaginatively by Joe Otting. If the theme of a citizen taking justice into his own hands is not new, it wears well enough when we consider the current state of criminal justice as portrayed in the media today.
Thomas Archer (Ron Eldard) is living a successful, happy life until a burglary associated with the death of the babysitter and his son and the beating of his wife disrupts everything. Thomas is informed that the police don't have the manpower to investigate the killings, a fact that further enrages Thomas who is unable to work or function in his grief state. He is referred to a therapist Dr. Heller (Christopher Plummer) who oddly counsels him that perhaps the only way Thomas can get on with his life is to do everything in his power to track the killer down on his own. 'Arrangements' are made with a group of men (mostly frustrated cops) who inform Thomas that for a large fee they will take him to the killer and he can act on his vengeance. Transported by cellphone instructions to a deserted warehouse, Thomas encounters a bound and gagged man (Til Schweiger) who he is told is the killer of his son. Thomas begins his torture of the man only to gradually discover that the man does not bear the arm tattoo Thomas had clearly seen on the perpetrator. Dr. Heller is called to the scene and encourages Thomas to kill the suspect, but Thomas has enough doubt that he frees the suspect and together they begin a terrifying journey out of the maze-like warehouse. The ending may not come as a complete surprise, but it is the telling of the story as basically a character study between the two men that makes the film powerful.
Both Ron Eldard and Til Schweiger are completely convincing in their not so disparate roles: they both have very strong screen presences and with minimal dialog manage to take us, the audience, along with this creepy 'game'. There is some violence to be sure, but the terror of the film emanates more from the interaction of Eldard and Schweiger, each showing the extremes the bruised psyche can display. Not a great film but a film far above the routine 'horror picture' category. Grady Harp
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