Movie Review: Dead End (2003)

Synopsis: While driving to his in-laws on Christmas Eve with his wife, two kids and his daughter's boyfriend in the car, Frank Harrington decides to get off the interstate and take the scenic route. However, after he falls asleep at the wheel and nearly gets in an accident, they pass a woman with a baby on the side of the road and give her a ride, only to start dying one-by-one while traveling on a seemingly endless road.

Who's in it? The movie stars Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Mick Cain, Alexandra Holden and Amber Smith.

Review: I was in the mood for a horror movie or thriller and came across this one on Amazon Prime. I had some doubts about the film, but it turned out to be better than expected.

To be honest, the movie was kind of predictable. It didn't take a whole lot of imagination to figure out why they seemed to be on a road that didn't end and/or why they died one by one only to have a hearse drive off with them. In fact, it is basically the same plot as other movies.

That said, I thought the family's interaction made the film a lot more interesting, especially as the movie progressed, things became more stressful, and they begin revealing dark secrets to each other. I also liked the bits of insanity that would occasionally slip in, especially with Frank's obsession with continuing on the road, despite seeing no signs of civilization, and trying to justify the strangeness by suggesting it was a secret government road for the military.

I also liked how the movie left some glimmers of hope scattered throughout, such as Frank and his daughter, Marion (Holden) thinking they were escaping, only to discover they weren't having the success they thought. Scenes like that made their situation seem even more hopeless.

I think my only real complaint about the movie, other than the predictability about what was happening to the family, was the ending. The movie goes to some length to introduce us to the hearse driver but doesn't really explain who he is or what his ride offer to a doctor at the end of the film meant. It wasn't anything that ruined the movie, but it could have probably been left out without it making a difference.

Final Opinion: It's predictable but there's still quite a bit to like about this film and is worth taking the time to watch.

My Grade: B-


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