Dead Above Ground (2002)

Dead Above Ground (2002)

School is hell. And it just got far, far worse.

Student Jeff Lucas makes his own horror film which is ridiculed by students and teachers alike. Soon after, Jeff is killed in a tragic car accident. Then strange things begin to happen on campus and students and teachers begin to die – in the same way as in Jeff’s film.

 

The slasher film died off a couple of years ago when countless hip Scream clones saturated the market to the extent that I even got sick of watching them. The same thing happened back in the 80s when the video market was full of straight-to-video cheapies based on the Friday the 13th films, some pretty good but the majority pretty lame. The genre was dead and buried until it was revived by Scream. Saturation then set in once more and the cycle will repeat itself in a few years time with the release of another mainstream slasher flick. But what happens in between these cycles when the genre is forgotten about by the mainstream? Well we’re treated to crapper-than-crap films that are the reason the genre went back into hibernation. Films that have no business to exist. Films made by hacks who think they can just make anything old rubbish because once you’ve seen one of these films, you’ve seen them all, right?

Dead Above Ground is one of those such films. It’s every passing minute drives another stake into the heart of this popular genre. It’s every uttering of dialogue, it’s every attempt at scaring and it’s every effort to pretend it’s better than it is just scrape the bone of the viewer. It gets underneath the skin with its awfulness. It’s so mind-numbingly bad that Ed Wood will be turning over in his grave at the thought someone has made a worse film than him. It’s that bad.

Corbin Bernsen ‘stars’ but I guess that’s because he’s the biggest name in the film – and even he doesn’t see past the first five minutes. After that, let me introduce to you the worst bunch of clichéd characters and terribly overacted roles I’ve seen. The goths think they’re so different to everyone else and need to talk absolute drivel all of the time. The cheerleaders are bitchy and get their kicks out of putting the goths down. You get the impression. But multiply whatever stereotypes you’ve seen in the past by about thirty because that’s how bad these people try and fulfil their roles.

Antonio Sabato Jr. is also in it. I hate this guy. Where the hell did he come from? Whoever told him he could act? Why does he persist in making some of the worst films ever? I think he’s quickly notching up a collection of Popcorn Picture’s worst ever ratings with crap like Bugs and Shark Hunter. Here, he lets his badly-styled hair act for him as the detective and ends up in bed with the guidance counsellor. I’m sorry, if there’s anything worse than seeing him try and act, it’s seeing him having sex in a film.

Illogical. Virtually plot less. There’s so much conflict with the story in the film that it crosses over itself time and time again, ending up like a film version of the party game Twister. Meaningless story arcs lead off in different directions with no conclusions. It takes forever to go nowhere – it’s a hell of a long 90 minutes let me tell you. Director Chuck Bowman has worked on plenty of TV series in the past but I’m hoping this is his last foray into film. He has no clue about setting up mood, scares or anything. The soundtrack is constantly pumping rock and metal tunes which does work in moderation in film but only usually to sell soundtracks during the end credits, not used for chases or stalking scenes. To add to all of this, there’s a very low body count and it’s not very gory at all. Not a very pretty picture indeed.

 

Dead Above Ground…..I’m actually lost for a witty remark to sum up this film using its own title. Just use your own imaginations for a change. I’ll let the rating do all the talking for me.

 

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