A cabin in a deserted area of forest.

Snowfall cutting off the visitors from much of the outside world.

Then an unexpected – and unwanted as it turns out – ‘guest’ appears outside…

So far, so ho-hum home invasion chiller right? The type of set-up we have seen countless times over recent years, and will no doubt keep seeing if the box office/sales continue.

But this is Dead Night, and while the above set-up does indeed lay the foundation for the film, this is far removed from the run-of-the-mill fare you may expect.

For starters, the ‘guest’ is genre icon Barbara Crampton, so already scores plus points. And we already know things are not merely ‘normal’ thanks to a 50s set prologue, scenes of what appear to be a sinister-looking ‘Walnut Whip’ type thing (showing my age there) among the trees, along with fleeting glimpses of some shrouded beings gliding through the brush.

The central figures here are a family headed by parents Brea Grant and AJ Bowen (another genre favourite), packing their two kids (and token boyfriend) off for some time away from it all.

But boy do they get more than they bargained for, and whether they all survive is very much up in the air…

Although Bowen brings his horror gravitas to the feast, this is very much a female-driven genre pic and the actresses really run with it, whether it be Grant as the ‘sort-of Final Girl’, Crampton playing deliciously against type as a villain, or the shrouded figures mentioned above (who also turn out to be female).

There are some nice gloopy effects, a bit of politics thrown in for good measure and a pace that rarely lets up.

I did have some issues – the decision to include a somewhat bizarre ‘aside’ running along the main action removes a lot of the unpredictability and tells the audience where we are heading very early on. In addition – and I have no problem admitting this – some of the storyline kinks left me confused.

But I was happy to mull it over after the credits rolled, rather than simply forget it, which seriously counts in Dead Night’s favour.

To put it bluntly, if you want something a bit different, with some nice gore, Grant on a killing spree and Crampton practically devouring the screen at times, then Dead Night is a good bet.

DVD Review: Dead Night
3.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle