Dead Cert – British Gangsters vs. Vampires

Sporting much the same cast as Devil’s Playground, Dead Cert is also available on instant Netflix.

Dead Cert (2010) – Not rated

“London gangsters meet the immortal undead in this supernatural horror flick. When the gangsters decide to sell their club — the Inferno — the most interested buyers turn out to be vampires eager to return to their ancestral home.”

“Four girls and three dogs. Dogs for &*$%’s sake. Who kills dogs?”

“Boy you can tell she ain’t had three kids.”

First I do have to warn you that the English accents are quite thick in this movie and the script features quite a bit of slang a la Snatch. The script is quite witty with a nice dry British sense of humor.

Jason Flemyng is first-billed on Netflix but sadly he just puts in a cameo. Craig Fairbrass is the star here as he was in Devil’s Playground. Rejoining him from Devil’s Playground are Danny Dyer, Lisa McAllister, and Mo Idriss.

Other prominent British character actors also litter the cast. Billy Murray (Don Beech from The Bill) is the chief villain Dante Livenko. Steven Berkoff (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Dexter Fletcher (Hotel Babylon), and Andrew Tiernan (Prisoners Wives) round out the cast of British heavies.

Sadly while the acting is fine, the action is unconvincing. It isn’t that it is bad, just not very good – pedestrian. The special effects are kept to a minimum (until the third act) which is just as well since they are a bit low-rent. Bizarrely for a movie that takes place mainly in a strip club, there is no skin.

Another issue are the odd inconsistencies. You have differences in the way the vampires look (multiple vendors for teeth?). You have vampires munching on prop arms and legs, although in all other ways they are played as straight vampires.

It’s unfortunate that I can’t recommend this. The crime aspects in the first act are well handled. The story, acting and script are good but the action and special effects are poor enough to pull you out of the movie. What a waste of a good cast.

Devil’s Playground – Zombie-A-Go-Go

I love a good British horror movie as you can typically count on good acting. I also love zombie films. Devil’s Playground is currently available on instant Netflix.

Devil’s Playground (2010) – Not rated

“When an experimental drug turns 30,000 test subjects into zombies, ex-mercenary Cole seeks the one unaffected woman, hoping she’s the key to a cure. As the contagion expands, Cole becomes infected himself, and the hunt becomes personal.”

First off Devil’s Playground is a terrible name for a zombie film. There is a small reason why it’s named this but it conjures up the wrong image.

Director Mark McQueen assembles a wonderful cast of British character actors. Sadly two of my favorites, Colin Salmon and Sean Pertwee are only in it briefly. Just as she did in Dexter, Jaime Murray plays a character you can’t wait to see die. The main stars are MyAnna Buring (The Descent), Danny Dyer, and Craig Fairbrass. Everyone acquits themselves nicely and no one upstages anyone else to any real degree. Craig Fairbrass comes across the best as a tough guy on a mission.

If you end up liking this cast then you should probably also watch Dead Cert, a vampire film starring Craig Fairbrass, Danny Dyer, Lisa McAllister, and Mo Idriss – all from this film as well as Jason Flemyng. I’ll probably get around to watching it myself in the next few days.

The virus setup, while overused as much as the zombie genre itself, is fairly effective. There are some leaps in logic that have to be overcome but in general I liked the plot.

The part I didn’t care for was the parkour zombies on steroids. Eschewing traditional zombie makeup, they went for a bulging vein drug addict look. It doesn’t look scary and in some scenes comes across as unintentionally funny. I presume the parkour zombies were a way to one up the running raging zombies of 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later but again there is some unintentional humor here.

So in an oddity I enjoyed everything BUT the zombies in this zombie movie. If you love zombies, then you should check this out as it is a decent movie. It just isn’t as good as it could have been.

People Watch: The cast is certainly no stranger to the restless dead. Colin Salmon appeared in Resident Evil, Sean Pertwee in Event Horizon, Danny Dyer in Doghouse, Craig Fairbrass in White Noise 2, Jaime Murray in The Deaths of Ian Stone, MyAnna Buring in Vampire Killers and Lisa McAllister in Pumpkinhead: Ashes to Ashes.