5 days ago
Friday, January 14, 2011
Aztec Version Of The Crow
Diego (Wilmer Valderrama) and his girlfriend Maria (Angie Cepeda) make a good couple. What she doesn't know about Diego though, and what he doesn't seem to remember, is that when Diego was a child, he was marked as a sacrifice to the Aztec Gods. Diego gets ready for the Day Of The Dead holiday, getting his face painted and getting just the right clothes, when he has an accident while driving. He wakes up a year later to discover that his friends are holding a small service in his honor, which confuses him. He soon discovers that he can be seen at least, as Aparicio (Tony Plana), the grounds keeper of the cemetery, tries to help him. Diego eventually learns that he is being controlled by the Aztec God of human sacrifice who wants three very specific people in order to bring about the rise of the Aztec's once again, and apparently the end of days. When Diego learns one of those three people happens to be Maria, will he go through with it or fight against the God?
The Dead One is a low budget film (around $1 million according to IMDb) that is based on the comic book El Muerto, The Aztec Zombie. A lot of people call The Dead One a ripoff of The Crow, which is where I got my title from. I understand where people are coming from with this. The makeup used is fairly close to each other, and they are both brought back to life a year after their death. I felt that the two characters matched up differently from there though. Where The Crow was an avenger of death, El Muerto is supposed to take lives. Diego does discover that he can heal people, and even bring people back from the dead. The movie itself is a bit on the slow side. I found myself checking to see how much time had passed a few times, so it wasn't holding my attention real well. Once Diego returns he of course wants to see Maria. Just a couple of problems with that though. She thinks he is dead, and his makeup is now part of him. It doesn't wash off at all, which is easy to figure out since it is almost always raining where ever Diego goes. A big part of the plot is Diego trying to come up with ways to see Maria again. He apparently doesn't have a problem with seeing his best friend though, Zak (Joel Moore).
The main problem with The Dead One is that it is very confusing. An Aztec God brings back Diego as something like a human servant. At least that is what most God's do. I had assumed that Diego would have to do the killing himself, since the God has the power but can't actually touch someone. Gods are weird that way, needing someone to do things for them when they are supposed to be all powerful. But once Diego finds who it is that is to be sacrificed, guess who did the killing? It wasn't Diego, so why is he even there? Apparently he was needed for the last sacrifice though, which again didn't make any sense. His healing power, being able to bring back the dead, is explained as Diego having the heart of a good person.
Since The Dead One is only a rated PG movie, there is hardly anything for gore effects. A few cuts and stabbings, but nothing too major. A few CGI effects like lightning and cracking mirrors are thrown in here and there. The acting was just okay to me. I didn't feel anyone was bad, but no one really stood out to me either. Wilmer Valderrama shows he can be serious when he needs to be at least. Joel Moore was good, but under used. Angie Cepeda is pretty, but doesn't do a whole lot. Billy Drago shows up, in drag even. It was funny in a way but at the same time it was way too easy to tell it was him when he was supposed to be an old woman.
I wanted to like The Dead One mainly because of the story. I found it interesting at first, but eventually it became too confusing. I thought the Aztec angle of the story was a nice touch. Not something I have seen in a horror movie, that I can remember anyway. I hate to turn anyone away from this movie, but in the end I didn't feel it worked as well as I wanted it to. Maybe it requires another watch before things fall into place for me. I know that there are some movies that require that, I'm not that smart to get everything the first time around sometimes. Worth a watch I think if you find the plot interesting or into one of the actors.
2 out of 5 I wonder how it would have been if Fez played the role