Review of Twice Dead

Twice Dead (1988)
Boom town.
5 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
An average 80's horror vehicle, with the protagonists use of movie SFX gadgetry and makeup presumably its hook. There isn't a whole lot else that stands out about Twice Dead beyond this gimmick. The scenes that do involve the protagonists using movie props and makeup effects to play a trick on the gang that has been harassing them are kind of dumb. The extended sequence in the middle of the movie where brother and sister are able to fool an entire gang of scum into thinking they have each been attacked by ghosts and killed off one by one via supernatural means is ludicrous to say the least. Naturally the different members of the gang all act exactly as they are intended to, splitting off at the right times for each trick to work and the SFX used are perfectly convincing to the naked eye. Enough so that each different gang member is convinced they have seen something supernatural or one of their friends killed or dead- all from a bit of fake blood, monster props, gadgets and wires etc. Our protagonists also have access to quick acting, side effectless, movie chloroform. Yes, it's like something from an episode of Scooby-Doo but live action and even dumber for it.

As a whole the movie doesn't work and the story and tone are all over the place. There is a supernatural presence in the house where the family has moved into which seems to fluctuate between wanting to kill/spook the family and being on their side with no rhyme nor reason. A back-story is provided to explain the ghostly goings on but it just makes everything seem far more inconsistent. A link is developed later on in the movie between one of the gang members and the story of the house but it comes out of nowhere and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The gang that menaces the family throughout the film is so overt and public in their unlawful, and eventually murderous, behaviour that it is unbelievable that they haven't been arrested and makes the police's inability to help the Cates family when come to them for help for reasons of lack of evidence ludicrous indeed. This is one of those movies where the police have to be non-existent or unbelievably ineffectual for the plot to happen. The Cates family's behaviour is also nonsensical. The parents go off on a trip for a week or two leaving behind their two teenage children in the house alone whilst the family is being menaced by a violent gang. Instead of taking firmer and saner action, such as, I dunno, perhaps going to the police, these two set up an extremely elaborate prank which could only conceivably antagonise the group that wants to kill/rape/harm them even more. The tone of the movie is somewhat inconsistent also. At times the movie seems almost light hearted and goofy- the whole faked death by ghost sequence and at others times like a standard 80's slasher movie with over the top deaths, gratuitous nudity and at times serious- threatened rape and that sort of thing.

The dialogue, acting, gore etc, are all pretty mediocre. Only a couple of things stood out for me in Twice Dead. Jill Whitlow who plays the sister is certifiably gorgeous and made watching the film a less tedious experience than it would otherwise be. The other thing is how frequently the boom mike appears in shot, at least in the VHS version I watched. It appears so often it should have got billing (It has more personality than a lot of the other characters) and its appearance would make for a good basis for a drinking game, which could only make for a more enjoyable experience watching the movie.
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