I wonder what “true events” Tony Glazer’s hostage horror film Dead Sound is inspired by — scenes in this film are chilling, and the deaths are guttural. It is a teen terror film that takes a look at class, sexuality, and drug abuse, set within the confines of a boat on a quiet New London sound. Writers Jon Adler and Ted Weihman weaved a turbulent thriller, where the violent slashers, instead, wield guns, and a group of teens fights for their survival in answer to the negligence of their fathers rather than their own sins.
Since the composition of the group is so cliché of high school film characters — the “Captain America” type guy, the spoiled smartass, the jock, and the “damsel” girl — it sets itself up with a similar vibe to I Know What You Did Last Summer, only Dead Sound‘s terror seems more personal when it touches on social nuances such as sexual assault and the rich vs the affected working class. The film’s deaths seem to make much more sense, and the practical effects made for the gunshot wounds were pretty gruesome. Dead Sound turned out to be far from another teen horror movie.
In Dead Sound, a raging high school graduation party is just a ferry ride away for a group of four old friends — Jake (Noah Gaynor), Ashley (Sophie Faulkenberry), Nicky (Matthew Gumley), and Carson (Max Miller). When they end up missing the boat, they seek out other means of transportation to get themselves to the party no matter what. It’s just their luck that a pair of fishermen, Bobby (John Behlmann) and Stone (Jeff Kober) are willing to take them on their boat, “The Seeker”, for a few hundred dollars cash. Jake is the only one with a bad vibe and calls a friend to send help later if he doesn’t see them at the party later on. Things get out of hand as the night goes on, where the friends are tested and pushed to their limits in a fight for their lives against two sadistic fishermen.
Some unexpected comedy eked its way into the film, at times it worked as dark-comedy and was a subtle reminder of teens’ propensity to think of themselves as invisible and having careless fun. I also think it was funny at times where it didn’t mean to be, mainly the ending where it got cheesy and took away from all of the tension it had built up in most of the film. Because of some surprisingly deep dialogue on subject matters such as class politics that invites viewers to question the justification behind the killers’ motivations, Dead Sound pushes beyond the plateau of ‘hunt ’em and kill ’em until the final girl’ formats that many other teen horror movies rest upon.
I suppose it is just because they are crossing a sound via boat, but for a movie called Dead Sound and one whose promotional advertising eludes to Jaws (1975), a film that is known for its classic sounds, I was expecting more from the musical score in that regard. If there was more sound than what they had it would have created a more foreboding atmosphere which might have overcome the cheesy bits at the end. However, the film is mindful enough to address relevant social issues, and instead of being a mindless entity, the killer is right in their face and he has a grudge. From thriller and horror distributors Uncork’d Entertainment (The Dark Within, Dolls), Dead Sound will be released to DVD on March 3.
Adrienne Reese is a fan of movies - the good, the bad, and the ugly - and came to the horror genre by way of getting over her fear of... everything. Adrienne also writes for the Frida Cinema, and in addition to film enjoys cooking, Minesweeper, and binge-watching Game of Thrones.