Dead Next Door, The

1988 · Tempe Entertainment
Dead Next Door, The — Movie Review by Karthik
7 out of 10
Directing Credits
J R Bookwalter
Writing Credits
Written by J R Bookwalter
Peter Ferry, Jolie Jackunas, Bogdan "Don" Pecic, Robert Kokai, Michael Grossi, J R Bookwalter

The Review

Akron, Ohio: A scientist, Dr. Bow has created a serum that has caused the dead to come back to life as flesh-hungry zombies.  Fast-forward to a few years later, and the government has now established "Zombie Squads" to police the cities and keep the zombie menace at bay.  Research is still going on to find a cure for the zombie menace.

The members of Zombie Squad 205, led by Raimi (Peter Ferry) run into a group of nasty zombies in a Virginia farmhouse, and one of their group, Mercer (Michael Grossi) is bitten.  They bring him back to base, where Dr. Moulsson (Bogdan Pecic) is close to finding an anti-serum — but they need to go to Akron, Ohio, to Dr. Bow's laboratory to complete the formula.  So the squad and Dr. Moulsson's team go to Akron, only to run into further trouble when they come across a cult led by Reverend Jones (Robert Kokai) who has his own agenda with the zombies.

The Dead Next Door was director J R Bookwalter's first released feature.  The project began in 1985 and was completed over the course of nearly four years.  It was shot on Super-8 film on a miniscule budget, and was basically a homage to the zombie movie classics.  Bookwalter was only 18 years old when he made this film, but received financial support from none other than Sam Raimi (credited here as executive producer "The Master Cylinder") to complete it.  The film was a labour of love for all involved, the filmmakers assumed multiple roles and none of them actually got paid for their contributions.  The zombie extras are all residents of Bookwalter's home town of Akron, Ohio.

I first saw this movie on a worn out videotape some six or seven years ago, and on first viewing, was ready to dismiss it as a cheap-looking movie with amateurish acting.  Fortunately, the videotape also contained a documentary called "The Making of The Dead Next Door", which gave additional information on the film that made me appreciate it a lot more.

Certainly, while the film does have amateurish acting and looks true to its low budget, the zombie makeup and gore effects are well done.  The storyline is quite decent, and I appreciated the music score (also done by Bookwalter), which gave the movie a desolate tone.  This is a film that needs to be seen in context of what it is, which would enable the viewer to enjoy it much more.

Other Notes

The original release version of the film runs 84 minutes.  Anchor Bay Entertainment released a "remastered" edition of the film in 2005, with improved picture quality, a new sound mix and recreated opening and end titles.  This version runs 78 minutes as the end credits are shorter, and one of the songs is eliminated (this appears on the DVD separately, as an extra).

More Details

Running Time: 78 minutes | Country: US | Genre: Horror

Ratings Info

I rate all movies or game add-ons on a scale of 1 to 10 points.  1 is the lowest score, 6 is barely above average, 8 is good, and 10 is excellent (this score doesn't indicate something that is perfect in every way — it just means that I enjoyed it a lot).  You'll find that I tend to give ratings of 8 and above often (that's only because I enjoy whatever I'm reviewing!).  Reviews are updated as felt necessary.  Of course, everything said in these reviews is my humble opinion only.
Review Date 6 Oct 06
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The Author

Karthik Abhiram

27-year old Taurean (birthday 15-May-82), Assistant Manager - HR at Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in Hyderabad, India.  Previously, did Post Graduate Diploma in Management from T A Pai Management Institute (2003-05) and before that, Computer Science Engineering from Sree Nidhi Institute of Science and Technology (1999-2003).

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