In the wake of a worldwide viral outbreak, a group of survivors travel across the country to reunite with loved ones only to encounter a zombie apocalypse. Will they survive the walking dead without killing each other first?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Don't Believe the Cover Art, this is a Drama!!!Feb. 3 2014
D. Ryan Mowry
- Published on Amazon.com
I was lucky enough to see this movie back in 2012 and review it or my website, back before it got distribution. This is an amazing movie, but it's really a semi-romantic drama and thriller, that happens to be set in a world with zombies. This is NOT a MOVIE about ZOMBIES! They are anecdotal to the plot. It is about how far people go when the situation demands it, how far they go when pushed, and really about how much more horrible people can be than the horrors around them. DON'T BELIEVE THE COVER ART, this is not your average zombie movie! What it is, is a great, heart-wrenching drama character study. With the ever-present threat of zombies. You can read my full review here if you want more detail: [...] but in the mean time, this is an amazingly well made, well acted drama from some talented filmmakers and worth your time (as long as you're not looking for boobs/gore/head crushings/zombie hoards... there are a ton of other movies with similar cover art that will provide that.)
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
"Dawn of the Dead" Meets "Blue Valentine"Dec 17 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Charlie (Joe Belknap) is traveling through the wilderness to find his girlfriend, Samantha (Mary Lindberg), after civilization is destroyed by widespread biological attacks. He must try to survive while dealing with other survivors and his own emotional burdens.
The post-apocalyptic world is a well-trod staple of the horror genre. Some would say, not without good reason, that it has been trod just a few too many times. But "Dead Weight" succeeds with this theme by making it the background rather than the foreground of the story. This is, in fact, a romance story disguised as horror, adding an emotional level that most horror films lack.
The sheer level of acting talent going into this production is remarkable. Some of those involved are professionals, who spend their every waking moment acting. Some (in fact, most) are amateurs, making their theatrical debut here. And with one or two easily overlooked exceptions, all the performances come across as strong and bold. I have seen my fair share of independent films, and this one takes talent to the next level.
Directing and cinematography are top notch. A few shots seem inspired by some of the better directors out there, or even bad directors (M. Night Shyamalan) when they were at their peak. I have lived in Wisconsin for three decades and have hardly thought of it as beautiful, but the camera has brought out the best and the bleakest that winter has to offer, depending on what the scene called for. I am told that due to snow one scene had to be moved from a field to a barn, but this turned out to be a stroke of good luck -- the scene in question is among the most ominous in the film, and a field would be more difficult to capture the angles and shadows needed for the terror that ensues.
And although the film is quite dark at times (with the threat of infection, murder or rape always on the horizon) there is just the right sprinkling of humor in there to keep it from getting too dark, but not too much humor that the film would devolve into a parody of itself. The jokes and their delivery seemed inspired by the early films of Kevin Smith ("Clerks" and "Mallrats"), and based on what I know of director John Pata, that seems completely appropriate.
Likewise, the balance of "geek" and "non-geek" is pretty stable. The creators are well-known geeks who thrive in the world of comics and cheesy movies (which I mean in the nicest possible way). Yet, they never let this get in the way with endless homages and pointless references. Yes, Charlie is a comic reader. But he is also a fighter (you think just because a guy reads comics he can't start something?). Aside from the "Arnold moment", the film's only real nod is in giving Samantha the surname MacReady, which I took to be a subtle reference to "The Thing" (another story about survival in the snow).
I say in my headline that this was "Dawn of the Dead" meets "Blue Valentine". I think the "DotD" references speaks for itself. But the "Blue Valentine" reference might not. What really sold the film was the juxtaposition of Charlie's life getting progressively worse with flashback shots of it getting progressively better. Not all romances are good ones (as Lady Gaga has so aptly reminded us). And this film nails that.
Sadly, if I have to say anything bad about the film it is in the chemistry. Joe Belknap was great as a survivor and was an admirable lead character, a flawed and tragic anti-hero. But his chemistry with Mary Lindberg was just not there... the weakest scenes are the two of them interacting. Lindberg was great in every moment, but Belknap seemed to struggle with how to present himself as a boyfriend.
All in all, a strong first showing from Pata and Bartlett (ignoring the shorter, funnier "Better Off Undead"). Whether they are planning to go for a big distribution deal, or quickly dive into their next project, I wish these two the success they deserve. Until now, the best thing to come out of Wisconsin was the beer and cheese. "Dead Weight" gives those two fattening staples a run for their money.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Look past the cover to find a "Zombie" film that remembers its roots.March 24 2014
Ken D. Johnson
- Published on Amazon.com
There's so much zombie product out there these days that treats the end of the world as one big party, one big cathartic rave with murder as entertainment. I like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland as much as the next guy, but less than clever attempts at recycling their magic has found my interest in the Zombie genre eroding.
After hearing strong praise about Dead Weight on the festival circuit by those "in the know," I finally got a chance to see it and I'm glad I did. Less of a zombie film and more of a horror drama, Dead Weight is a film that swims against the current. Taking place amidst the beautifully desolate landscape of a Minnesota winter, Dead Weight marks new territory, making its own path, with a slow, creeping sense of dread that trails all the way back to the original Night of the Living Dead. Characters are given dimension here. The importance of the group is stressed. Society is still necessary, especially in the apocalypse where survival hinges upon what you can bring to the group and what the group can provide for you. Dynamics not usually explored in most direct-to-video zombie films these days. While relieved, at times, by the occasional dark bit of humor, it's this Grapes of Wrath style perspective culminating in a climatically brutal loss that makes Dead Weight a standout in the genre. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Nice twist on an overdone genreDec 17 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
Dead Weight excels in showing people making real decisions and having honest reactions in a grim apocalypse. Solid bittersweet humor and genuine thoughtfulness in the writing make this stand out among the other independents. Looking forward to see what else comes from the creativity behind Dead Weight.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A fantastic film that some people here just didn't give a proper chance to...Aug. 30 2014
Robert M. Poole
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a pretty great character driven film that really is about the most terrifying monster during a Zombie Apocalypse or frankly any sort of disaster - humans. Let me address the two problems most mentioned in the really pointless 1 star reviews on here -
1. The acting. Yes there are a few actors that are first timers and it shows in their scenes but that just isn't the case for the most part. Charlie, played by Joe Belknap, portrays his role perfectly. He's hanging onto personal issues that are creating inner turmoil that prevents him from doing the right thing throughout. That's not the easiest role to play with the subtlety of emotional switches and Joe pulls that off. Aaron Christensen and Michelle Courvais as Thomas and Meredith respectively, are on the other hand seasoned actors and they nearly steal the show as riveting side characters that truly help guide the direction of the film.
2. Not enough happens/there are no zombies. If you're looking for a creature feature, yeah you'll be disappointed. Blame the idiot distributors for changing the cover art to portray something completely different than the story for this one.
The thing is, stuff DOES happen. It's NOT about a zombie overrun. You've SEEN that a million times. Go pick up some Romero or something if that's what you want. This is about people. How they react to such an event and how their own personal demons can play a major role in whether they survive or not. It IS a slow burner, but for all of the right reasons. The editing (award winning from the 2012 Elvira's Horror Hunt/HorrorHound Weekend Awards) puts you back in Charlie's head, thinking about his relationship with Samantha and how he got into the mess he's in when you're watching... but the slow burn makes sense. You need to see him unravel a bit. You need to see his interactions with the people along the way to make sense of what he is heading towards at the end. It's a dark, sad, depressing world Charlie lives in and this movie conveys that perfectly. I won't even rattle off how amazing it is to pull off such a beautiful, professionally shot film on the budget they had because it's irrelevant. The film looks fantastic and in a good 90% of the scenes, you'd never know that there were first time actors involved in some of them. This film is a credit to Independent Horror and how far it has come. Long gone are the days where "Indie" meant 'some dude shooting grainy crap in his backyard'. There are some truly gifted artists and story tellers out there. John Pata and Adam Bartlett are among the elite next generation filmmakers.
I also suggest checking out John Pata's follow up short, "Pity". It is also incredible.