Dead Dicks. That’s really the title.
When Becca (Jillian Harris) checks up on her brother Richie (Heston Horwin), she is horrified to find his dead body hanging in a closet. ….And even more surprised when a living and naked Richie walks into the room eating cereal.
The movie opens with a PSA urging anyone with urges for self-harm to contact Crisis Services Canada (and for our American readers, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is reached at 1-800-273-8255). Consider this a content warning: this film deals frankly with mental illness and suicide.
So here’s the premise: whenever suicidal Richie –or “Dick” to his douchey neighbor Matt (Matt Keyes)– dies, he is reborn, naked, from a sort of vaginal portal in his bedroom wall. There are four Richie corpses scattered around the apartment, and his sister Becca, the one who always cares for him, the one who always cleans up after him, the one who possibly resents him for limiting her own life, has to help him cope with this new magical reality with physical detritus that are bound to raise questions when the building super comes by in the morning in response to Matt’s complaints.
There’s kind of a lot of naked Richie in this, by the way. And hence a lot of … dicks? The title has multiple meanings.
While the premise is a bit of silly magical realism, somewhere on the edge of science fiction and comedy horror, it’s really not what the story is about. The story is not about duplicate corpses, it’s about the changing relationship between a mentally-ill man and his sister. And it’s portrayed with sympathy and care. Becca is planning to leave town to go to nursing school, but when it comes down to it she doesn’t know if she can leave, because she always has to take care of Richie. As they cope with this new reality, more and more of their character and story comes out, and it feels raw and real. Both characters are leveled and deep, and neither one is the badguy even when they conflict.
And it avoids so many of the terrible tropes you see so regularly on the subject of mental illness and suicide.
Richie wants to keep trying, experimenting, figuring out the rules. “I have really exhausted all the ways to kill myself. Well, all the clean ways,” he says. She is opposed to the idea of her brother killing himself over and over, even he he does come back
Rating: 10 out of 10 Dead Dicks