T.J. is accused of committing a crime in the movie “Play Dead,” and the evidence against him winds up in the morgue. Chloe, T.J.’s sister, plays dead in order to gain access to the office of the local coroner and steal the evidence they need to clear their brother’s name. What she runs into is a lot creepier than anything she could have possibly imagined would happen to her.
First off, I will say that I’ve been a Jerry O’Connell fan for many years. “Stand By Me” was a classic film, but it was the television series “Sliders” that made me a fan. With over 120 roles to his credit, according to IMDb, he turns in a nice, creepy performance here, somewhat reminiscent of Christian Bale in “American Psycho.” Jerry O’Connell is a tremendously talented actor, and he is quite capable of taking on a variety of different roles.
Bailee Madison, O’Connel’s co-lead, was also wonderful. Her acting chops were honed on features such as “Bridge to Terabithia” and “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” as well as hit television series like “Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles,” “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour,” and “The Good Witch.” It is to her credit that she was able to carry many scenes of this film on her own, and go toe-to-toe with Jerry O’Connell.
The look of the film was great. The setting, itself, was amazing. The extensive hallways, and myriad rooms created a claustrophobic maze in which our lead actress must figure out what is going on, and stay one step ahead of the her tormentor.
In addition to the location, the cinematography of Play Dead was something I really enjoyed. The lighting and camera angles worked together to create a well-crafted visual experience that gave the viewer a sense of beauty despite the otherwise gruesome setting. Even though I was never left to try and look through the darkness in order to figure out what was going on, it was still dark enough to be a little frightening.
On the negative side, I thought the beginning of Play Dead was overly complicated. The inciting action was convoluted, and the follow-up involving Chloe seemed implausible. To get through Act I, I had to suspend my disbelief. Act II, on the other hand, was excellent.
In spite of a shaky beginning, “Play Dead” developed into an enjoyable horror and suspense movie by the end of its running time. The performances were outstanding, the cinematography was breathtaking, the setting was breathtaking, and the story created some very nice tension. If you enjoy movies that keep you on the edge of your seat, then you should definitely check out this one.
amateur film-maker, professional zombie