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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Gregory Goyins' masterpiece.

10/10
Author: Nate Bell from Orange
28 August 2013

And so it is. After much promise--flashes of intelligence, isolated moments of brilliance-- Goyins puts it all together in what is certainly his most mature film. Set in the early '80s, The Dead Kid relates the tragic story of an adolescent boy's disappearance in a small coastal town. It is told through the eyes of a same-aged girl (Mandalynn Carlson) whose growing awareness of the surrounding incidents (the boy was bullied by locals) provides a sturdy, empathetic core. Unabashedly literary (based on a short story by Gillian King, who shares screenplay credit), the film effortlessly moves through a nonlinear narrative space, interweaving first person narration with observational storytelling to create a dense, emotionally rich texture. The cinematography has a warm, glowing, nostalgic sheen, and every production detail is calibrated for maximum emotional effect. There are numerous felicitous touches (such as the "Greek chorus" of kids that ease the transitions between scenes) but the biggest revelation, at least to this viewer, is that Goyins proves himself, after the old soul world-weariness of After the Denim and the shocking body horror of Vitriolage, a sensitive director of children. But to say so doesn't convey the full effect of watching The Dead Kid. It has to be seen to be believed. Goyins and his team of collaborators have made a small classic that speaks to specific social issues (race, class, bullying, etc.) without neglecting the all important human element. In short, it is a major accomplishment.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A moving story about adolescent guilt

10/10
Author: Alan from United States
29 August 2013

Filmmaker Gergory Goyins reminds us what it's like to be at the difficult and transitional age of late childhood in his film The Dead Kid. Annie Baxter lives a normal life. She plays with her friends, camps outside at night, explores her hometown, and she starts noticing boys, hoping they notice her too. Her innocent desire for one boy's attention allows her to look the other away as her crush bullies another child. After the bullied child goes missing, Annie is burdened by her lack of action to defend the boy. Goyins wonderfully illustrates the fear and guilt weighing us down from little mistakes we make for the sake of acceptance by our peers. Most importantly though, the film reminds us to forgive ourselves for these little mistakes. In only 27 minutes, Goyins tells a small story with a big and long lasting emotional impact. This film deserves to be seen and heard.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Mr. Dunbar

10/10
Author: Sue Ann (suenaustin) from United States
30 August 2013

I was very much moved by this short story from Gillian King and the way it was brought to life by its director Gregory Goyins.

The Dead Kid is the memory of a childhood time when Frankie, a neighborhood kid who was frequently the target of bullies disappears and the community is shaken up. Frankie's parents are grief stricken while other parents keep a closer eye on their own. As told by Annie, who lived on the same street as Frankie, the other kids run wild with speculation as to what happened to him.

A favorite place for kids to go to was the town dump, which was tended to by the town's dump keeper, Mr. Dunbar. Everything the town no longer wanted or needed would end up there and what is one person's trash is another person's treasure. Mr. Dunbar understood kids, both the good and the bad parts of them.

I think the way Greg Goyins brought out the realness of the kids was excellent, but to me the most important character was Mr. Dunbar. What is beautiful about this film is we can all take from it so many different emotions. I loved it.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

An incredibly heart warming story that touches on issues of racism and bullying that is sadly very prevalent to this day.

10/10
Author: Heather LeBreton (whisperinwillowz@ymail.com) from United States
29 August 2013

It broke my heart, it touched my heart. Having been bullied many times as a child who was close friends with a 'black' girl in a very small segregated town in Maryland during the 70's, the story brought back all the memories of what she and I dealt with. I cried for Frankie, I cried for his parents and I cried remembering my friend Michelle. I love that the film showed that not only did Frankie's death affect his parents,but the whole community. It should do just that. Otherwise we can never hope for change. It's a beautiful film. It's genuine in it's truth and respectful in it's delivery of a very profound message. Annie being consumed with remorse locked in the freezer and then being forgiven by Frankie's spirit was incredibly moving. As was having Mr. Dunbar save Annie and carry her home with tears in his eyes as he held her tight to him, filled with poised yet obvious relief and concern for her. Through out the whole film you are made to revisit your own moral fiber. Loved it!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Gentle touch to a heavy subject

10/10
Author: Melvin Johnson from United States
3 September 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"The Dead Kid" proves that even the message of a heavy subject can be delivered without preaching or knocking the viewer over the head. The subject of bullying has gained more national attention in recent years. A big part of this is the growing presence of cyber-bullying. The filmmakers have approached the subject with skill that shows their deep understanding of the effect peer pressure can have on bullying. They also show how all too often kids stand by for fear of becoming the target of bullies themselves. The writer did an excellent job of covering not only how the loss of a loved one can devastate surviving family members, but also how it impacts those around them. The director and crew did a great job with the production values of this film. Short films are often short budgets, and it shows. Score, editing, acting, etc were all above par. This crew did a job on par with feature length films. In fact, this film had production values better than some features I've seen. In all, I enjoyed this film and would great;y recommend it to others.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A wonderful piece of film making

Author: Jeff Brown from Charlotte, NC
1 September 2013

"The Dead Kid", a short film written by Gregory D. Goyins and Gillian King, directed by Gregory D. Goyins, is filled with fantastic acting, beautiful photography, and tight direction. The child actors are what blew me away; they are all just wonderful. It delivers a GREAT message to people about bullying, without sounding too preachy, and while grounded within reality.

I thoroughly enjoyed it, and can't wait to see some more from Gregory Goyins.

Jeff Brown

Charlotte, NC

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The short film you hope to see

Author: Doug Frerichs from Los Angeles
30 August 2013

"The Dead Kid" is everything you hope for when you start watching a short film. The cinematography is strong, the sound and editing are invisible (sound is so often a short film's downfall), the score is present at all the right times but not overtly so—the film is feature- quality. But ultimately, what stands out most after viewing "The Dead Kid" is how well-written it is. The story has a forward-motion rarely seen in short films, and even features. Every scene matters in this film, nothing is nonessential. You find yourself deeply engrossed in every character, the main and the supporting. Dialogue is genuine, moments are real; you will find yourself moved to a multitude of emotions throughout the film's entirety. Well-crafted and meaningful, Gregory Goyins and his team of filmmakers have made a substantial piece of film that is surely the beginning of long-line of significant work to come.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Masterful

10/10
Author: AlFabrizio (alfabrizio@gmail.com) from London, England
24 September 2013

Director Gregory Goyins latest masterpiece, The Dead Kid is a thoughtful meditation on the thin veneer that separates life and death, and upon which life, in all of it's fragile interconnectedness rests.Children become the perfect vehicle to explore the theme, not only because we've finally become witness to the danger and the harm of bullying, but because they are often the silent victims of the failures of the adults around them.

Seamlessly binding the terror of the Atlanta child murders into the story, a steady feeling of uneasiness parallels the disturbing events that surround the disappearance of Frankie Thomas, and the disarray and confusion that this creates in a small community. A sort of psychic trauma begins to envelope those involved, tilting reality askew and hinting that the sextant is not merely misaligned, but that the stars themselves have come disjointed. There are no isolated events in this universe as tragedy begins to self perpetuate. Artfully blurring the boundary between life and death, sanity and madness, The Dead Kid resonates powerfully as it hints at the fragility of a life and the web that binds us all.

It would be easy to see this film as a reflection on bullying, and it is that, most assuredly, but in this masterfully sensitive adaptation of Gillian King's short story, Director Greg Goyins again demonstrates a level of insight and command of the medium which is rare among young directors .

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

A Beautiful Short Film That Delivers a Timeless Message

10/10
Author: cetrulo from United States
10 September 2013

Gregory D. Goyins and his team created a short film that will touch your heart and awaken your soul. This period piece delivers a timeless message about bullying, racism and peer pressure that everyone can relate to.

I especially liked the narration of the older Annie Baxter looking back on her life and the valuable lessons that she has learned. The cinematography is just beautiful and the child actors did an amazing job. I loved everything about Mr. Dunbar and he eventually moved me to tears.

This is a short that I could see being made into a feature film in the near future as all of the characters have such an amazing amount of potential.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

An elegant foray into the darkness of growing up

8/10
Author: marylois-788-910304 from United States
10 September 2013

THE DEAD KID deals with the conflicts of childhood's mistakes. The protagonist knows she is complicit to wrongdoing even though she didn't do wrong, and she confesses her feelings of guilt in this touching, smart and wise little film. Deftly written with a realistic yet poetic tone, THE DEAD KID is directed with dark and vital imagery,illuminating a story that could have happened to anybody. The story deals with bullying--the kid who is innocent, bullied, yet takes it and perhaps expects it. Two girls observe the acts but do nothing to stop them, and one of them suffers for realizing that.

Watching THE DEAD KID reminds the viewer of those many omissions and slight transgressions of childhood and youth we were never punished for, except in our own hearts. Very touching, very well done. It is a remembrance and an apology for all of us.

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