Wallowing in a seedy mix of guns, drugs and hardboiled revenge, adrenaline-infused films like Running Scared and Crank have slowly redefined the action-thriller genre in the past year. Directed by Christian Viel (Recon 2020, Evil Breed), Deaden is a similarly minded, relentlessly violent Montreal-shot effort that aims for the same heights of nihilism and cruelty as it tells the story of a cop who turns his back on the law to settle a personal debt.
Produced, written by and starring John Fallon -- better known as the film critic behind film review website Arrow In The Head -- Deaden's low-budget mayhem begins with a harrowing and intense 10-minute sequence in which exposed undercover officer Rane is forced to watch a gang of thugs brutally rape and murder his pregnant wife. Shot though the forehead with a crossbow and left for dead, Rane somehow pulls through -- although the doctors are unable to remove a piece of the arrow stuck in his brain (in-joke alert!). Fixated on revenge, Rane breaks out of the hospital and stumbles through the seediest backstreets of Montreal on a numbing diet of painkillers, cocaine and liquor in search of information. Relentlessly pursued by his former partner, Detective Park (Claudia Jurt), Rane finally gets hold of a cache of weapons from a sympathetic gun nut (Deke Richards) and serves up grisly fates to the slimy punks who wronged him.
Inspired by 1970s vigilante epics like Death Wish as well as the effects-driven gore of the early slasher boom, Deaden is a mean and bloody slab of tough-guy cinema, single-minded in its pursuit of thrills. Though the film effectively builds sympathy for the wronged cop through evocative flashbacks to his former life, it's the defiantly gleeful, no-holds-barred attitude that really brings the film to life as Rane employs enough creative kills to make Jason Voorhees proud, including exploding heads and a particularly nasty pool-cue impaling. Fallon and Viel's uncompromising actioner isn't afraid to have good-natured fun with the genre clichés that inspired them. Besides a handful of smirking gags that riff off Fallon's roots as an online critic, Deaden also features a pair of wisecracking forensic cops who -- like the viewer -- can't help but get a vicarious kick out of the carnage that Rane leaves in his wake, even as it builds to a tragic climax.
""Unforgiving... A nice change of pace from the cookie cutter action films as of late. I thought I was sick but I can't hold a candle to the opening scene in this film" - Darren Lynn Bousman, director of SAW II, SAW III
"A fun, bloody, mean-spirited indie film" - Johnny Butane, DREAD CENTRAL
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE, Hosted by Actor/Writer/Producer JOHN FALLON and Director CHRISTIAN VIEL
Director: Christian Viel
Screenplay: John Fallon, Christian Viel
Cast: John Fallon
Producers: Christian Viel, John Fallon