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DVD Review

DVD cover

Dead Cert


Starring: Craig Fairbass, Billy Murray, Dexter Fletcher, Lisa McAllister, Steven Berkoff, Jason Flemying and Danny Dyer
Momentum Pictures
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 18
Available 27 September 2010

East End gangster Freddie 'Dead Cert' Frankham has gone straight for the sake of his wife. He has worked hard and now runs and owns a club and bar with exotic dancers. His wife's brother is a bare-knuckle fighter, and when Freddie is offered two million pounds against the club, pitting his man against a powerful fighter from a new to London gang from Romania. However, Freddie and his gang has no inkling of the nature of the Romanians, and disaster strikes, causing much of his world to fall down around him. He makes the hard decision to, for all that he holds dear, revert to his criminal ways and go on the offensive. But fighting vampires hundreds of years old is not easy, and killing them almost impossible. The Romanians have come to claim their old ground; a black church, the grounds upon which the club has been built. But Freddie is not prepared to give it up so easily...

This is a film which would have worked even had there not been the inherent horror aspect; however, being a keen follower of the horror genre, I'm appreciative that it is. Imagine Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with a sprinkling of John Carpenter's Vampires and you're not a million miles away from the format.

Having never come across Dead Cert, I must admit to an inward groan when it was apparent that this would be a story with vampires. Like zombies, they're done to (un)death, with very little originality. This one is different though, and the thing that makes it work is the characterisation. These are lovable East End ruffians, who are so instantly defined and identifiable that they are almost caricatures. Although in reality you'd possibly cross the road to avoid them, here you can't help but like Freddie's close-knit group. I found myself smiling almost every time 'Magoo' is on-screen. His enthusiasm for everything, even defensive violence, is infectious.

There's a real story of love, respect and loyalty among these characters that actually plays down the vampires. In other words, the fanged ones are simply a plot point and don't bludgeon their way over the whole premise. This is essentially about Freddy. A necessary information piece regarding the background of the Romanian group of vampires is the old man. He appears a few times, attempting to warn our anti-heroes about the Wolf, but just seemed like a plagiarism of Loomis, the Donald Pleasence character in Halloween.

The effects are also kept to a minimum for this type of film, and suitably handled by Millennium, the company that does such a fantastic job on Doctor Who. On the Making of... documentary we are even shown how some of these are achieved.

Just a word about the final epilogue scene; it's total nonsense and should have been cut out. The major conclusion of the film is more than enough to leave you thinking what might happen to these people in the future.

An immensely enjoyable film, and one of a handful of home-grown mini-masterpieces I have recently had the pleasure of reviewing.


Ty Power

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