Written & Directed by Michael Clarke
Starring Wendy Trevor & Amy Snitch
Review by Natasha Price
Ricky Gervais once found himself in some very hot water after replying to the seemingly harmless question 'What advice would you give to someone who wants to be famous overnight?' with the controversial remark, 'Go out and kill a prostitute.' In more detailed reasoning, Gervais explains that he means if you are that focused on being famous, and nothing else, there is no difference between fame and infamy, and so you may as well commit murder if all you desire is to make the papers.
This is a subject tackled in “Dead Famous”, the story of a budding serial killer’s first kidnapping, and her goal to go down in history as a notorious murderer – to be someone important.
Though a horror, the film is dripping with a dark humour, seemingly tipping its hat to the likes of Psychoville and Inside Number 9, with almost Hitchcockian-like maguffins and visuals clues dotted along the way. The comic relief is effective throughout, “Regretti Spaghetti” being the name of a murderous Italian delivery service and a humorous list of potential serial killer nicknames is listed on a whiteboard in the background of one scene. The film starts strong, building suspense in long, panning shots accompanied by sinister music. A text conversation pops up on screen – a daughter telling her mother there is nothing to be scared of and that there is no one in her house – a classic foreboding tool typical of horrors or thrillers.
However, the tension is lost some of the way in, let down by weak acting and some scrappy editing. Shots fade in and out and important beats are missed or dragged on too long by bizarre timing decisions. The wit and humour of the story and script is unfortunately let down by production levels – no dramatic lighting is used to evoke a darker atmosphere, and the sound is patchy and a little distracting.
Despite all of these factors, however, the film manages to capture the audience long enough to lead them through the twisting, tricking narrative until the final reward of deceit is revealed at the end and manages to pack a certain amount of punch, worthy of the viewer’s attention for it’s ten minute viewing time. The film works as an experiment in storytelling much more effectively than a foray into production filmmaking. It delves into the darker side on the human mind and in this, points a mirror on society and our obsession with fame.