Review: Dead Man's Luck / Cert: 15 / Directors: Max Perrier / Screenplay: James Chancellor / Starring: Paul Burke, Paula Davis, Anastasia Bondarenko / Released: Out Now
Despite what you may think, nobody sets out to make a bad film. Often an idea seems absolutely great on paper but either through overzealous producers, bad organisation or sheer ineptness the finished film ends up a somewhat lesser product than its original screenplay. When you have a lower budget film, the number of people involved is less so you are less at risk of some of the previously mentioned interference. So if you have a cracking idea but one element ruins the film, then it could be sheer bad luck.
The central premise of Dead Man’s Luck is that down on his luck Sam (Paul Burke) comes across a lady turkey farmer (Paula Davis) who then promptly cuts him, leaves him in her house where he discovers the body of her husband and then ties herself up in his trunk so that it looks like he did the deed. Sam has to figure out what the hell the woman wants, dispose of a body and also try and maintain a relationship with his money grabbing ex stripper wife Jan (Anastasia Bondarenko).
The film has a nice low budget, grimy aesthetic that really works in its favour. Director Max Perrier knows where to place his camera and puts together some nice violence despite having no money. The script has the feel of one of those great run around thrillers as events pile on top of each other and things spiral out of control. There is no reason that this shouldn’t have been a fun knockabout in the countryside. The film even has a tinge of very dark comedy with some sharp dialogue and a cracking final line.
So the assassin in this concoction is the fact that none of the three main players in this film is anything approaching a good actor. We are talking serious porno level acting here that is without tone, emotion or anything like nuance or character. The first sign that things are going to be a chore to get through are when the two main characters stand barely ten feet apart and shout at each other in a weird monotone that suggests they are in a high wind that isn’t there. Things don’t get any better from here, in fact they get worse when a third cardboard thespian is added. Looking at the IMDb none of these actors have worked much, so that explains it.
It gives us no pleasure to kick a low budget thriller when it’s on its knees but Dead Man’s Luck is a film that should and could have been so much better than it is.