11 user 64 critic

Dead Weight (2012)

Charlie is traveling through the wilderness to find his girlfriend, Samantha, after civilization is destroyed by widespread biological attacks. He must try to survive while dealing with other survivors and his own emotional burdens.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joe Belknap ... Charlie Russell
Mary Lindberg ... Samantha MacReady
... Meredith
... Thomas
Sam Lenz ... Dustin
Jess Ader ... Drew
Matty Field ... Bobby
Jake Martin ... Roy
Mark Muetzel ... Clint
Steve Herson ... Harrison
Cheri Sandlin ... Ellen
Fran St. Andre ... Greg
Jason Ryf ... Riley
Reva Fox ... Janelle
Adam Loper ... Bruce


Charlie Russell passes through the wilderness in the wake of an apocalyptic viral outbreak to reunite with his girlfriend, Samantha. As Charlie's journey brings him closer to his destination of Wausau, WI, he must face physical exhaustion, malicious survivors, and perhaps most menacing, his own emotional burdens. With his newfound traveling companions Charlie must attempt to break his obsessions with the past. He must learn to let it go. Written by Adam Bartlett and John Pata

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

post apocalypse | See All (1) »


Learn to let it go. See more »


Drama | Horror | Thriller

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

30 March 2012 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1 / (high definition)
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Did You Know?


To achieve a visual difference between the two timelines, the present timeline was shot in April, giving it a post-apocalyptic feel due to the trees being bare and the grass dull from the winter. The flashbacks were shot in the middle of summer while everything was in full bloom. See more »


Thomas: Meredith, survival is about decisions, making the right choices at the right times.
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Crazy Credits

Actor Joel Kopischke receives credit for the role of Ted Rosen, the news anchor heard on the TV, but is not seen. See more »


References Shaun of the Dead (2004) See more »


No Sleep
Written and Performed by Haunted Heads
Courtesy of DOUBLEPLUSGOOD Records
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User Reviews

A solid effort.
9 May 2015 | by See all my reviews

This is fairly effective raw and stripped-down genre filmmaking. The people behind "Dead Weight" decide to focus on the human element, presumably not having the wherewithal to stage elaborate set pieces, or construct lots of makeup effects. It's likely not going to appeal to the majority of horror fans, due to this de-emphasis on action and gore. But the writers / directors, Adam Bartlett and John Pata, get excellent use out of some great rural Wisconsin locations, and the acting, while expectedly not that polished, is reasonably convincing.

The script moves between different points in time, often flashing back to happier moments from our two main characters' lives. Charlie Russell (Joe Belknap) is a young man who receives word from ex-girlfriend Samantha MacReady (Mary Lindberg) that all of a sudden an apocalyptic viral outbreak is under way. Charlie hooks up with a select few survivors, including Meredith (Michelle Courvais) and Thomas (Aaron Christensen), to make a trek through the Wisconsin woods to rendezvous with Samantha. (Supposedly, the woods are safer than the cities).

"Dead Weight" is a quiet film, no doubt about that, that may admittedly test the patience of viewers conditioned to quicker pacing, louder volume, and more action. But at its core it's an effective little mood piece with some impressive atmosphere and a resonant main theme of trust issues in times of crisis.

Belknap and Lindberg are likable in the lead roles, receiving fine support from their supporting players Christensen, Courvais, Sam Lenz (as Dustin), and Jess Ader (as Drew). Steve Herson as Harrison does a pretty engaging job of getting out what little exposition there is.

Travis Auclair handles the lighting duties and does a good job; Nicholas Elert similarly delivers the goods with his music score.

All in all, this is pretty good modern indie horror.

Seven out of 10.

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