Monday, March 5, 2012


THE DEAD HOUR: SEASON 2 (2011/2012)
Directed by Daniel Iske

     What scares you? DJ Raven wants to know. She hosts The Dead Hour, a weekly radio program devoted to the shadows just beyond the streetlight's reach, the bumps you hear as you drift off to sleep, the nightmares that wake you up in a cold sweat. She brings these to you, one horrifying tale at a time.

     The very first director to get in touch with me when I started this blog was Daniel Iske. He had just put out the last episode of The Dead Hour: Season 1 and asked if I would review them.  Well just this past week he sent me an email letting me know that the last episode of season 2 is out. As part of the reason why I'm doing this is to help younger film makers out and letting a wider audience know about their work. I'm actually very happy with how the blog has done as well as evolved over time.


Matt Tatroe - Finch
Stephanie June -  Frankie

     Frankie's first date with Finch is a real snoozer. An all-night horror movie marathon is not her idea of fun. But when the horrors on the screen begin to cross into the real world, Finch may have to be her knight in shining armor after all.

     This was actually a pretty fun way to start the second season. There's plenty of fun references throughout Frightfest to keep fans of the horror genre entertained, from the combination of two werewolf movies to form one title, to the lumbering of a serial killer that is in all reality more funny than scary. Both Lance Buss and Stephanie June play their roles with a certain amount of glee that translates well across the whole short. Plus I have to give director Iske a big thank you for bringing back slow zombies as the best scene in this is when the two main characters have to make their way through a movie auditorium filled with just waking up zombies. Plus the amount of zombies is quite impressive that was gathered for this.


Mark Booker - Sterling
Brandi Facholas - Cara

     If Cara's big break doesn't come soon, it's back to a dead end job, dreaming of what might have been. Then she gets the phone call that changes her life - a job that guarantees her name will go down in history. How much is she willing to give for her fifteen minutes?

     Fame is a departure from the usual as it deals with loss and failure on a much more personnel level than what Iske has done before. The mood is very somber and also a sadness runs throughout the short. Just as you think you have it figured out what is going on, the story takes a wildly unexpected turn to fully bring the whole story to light. Brandi Facholas pulls off a believable performance for most of the short yet wavers a little during the final scene after she pulls off a great reading of her lines earlier that actually had more impact. Facholas' acting through facial expressions as well gives her performance weight that makes it more realistic as well. 


Matthew Dillon - Jason
Jazmyne Van Houten - Heather

     After curfew on the back-roads, Heather and Jason are getting to know each other better. Heather's mother warned her that guys like Jason only want one thing - but it may be much, much more than Heather bargained for.

     Backseat is my least favorite of the shorts this year. It's not that the acting is bad in it, as both Matthew Dillon, as Jason, and Jazmyne Van Houten, as Heather, both do a decent job in their roles, though Dillon stands out more. The major drawback to Backseat is that it just moves very slowly. The twist in it is also very visible half way through the story. With better pacing and scripting this story could have been one of the better shorts this season, instead it kinda falls flat after the first two episodes. 


John Brooks Jr. - Marcus
Andre Davis - Tony

     Forced to move into a new home, agoraphobic Tony finds the security he once relied on no longer exists. When a ghostly visitor comes calling, will Tony face his fears of the outside world or confront the monstrous force residing in his home?

     Inside Man is quite a nice surprise this year as it goes more into psychological horror than physical horror. It's not the horror that is subjected onto Andre Davis' Tony, but one that is deep rooted in his mind. Tony is agrophobic, which means Tony has a fear of open spaces. The real fun starts when Tony's recently received new medication starts having unexpected side effects. Davis gives the best performance in this season of The Dead Hour as the viewer can tell he's in physical pain from his fears, which also makes him unable to function and is so severe it makes him mentally handicapped. John Brooks Jr., who plays Marcus, who is Tony's cousin by marriage, will do anything to ease the burden on his wife that is Tony. For this Marcus is the one true monster in this season.


Chelsie Hartness - Natalie

     Everyday in the hallowed halls of academia, young men and women devote themselves to the pursuit of knowledge. Tonight, the pursuers become the pursued. Will their book smarts save the day or will this prove to be their final exam?

     Gross Anatomy is a very good way to end this season. The story is a nice traditional piece of horror where it has the classic boogyman antagonist that just keeps coming. One of the reason why this works so well is that there is no explanation for why this is happening. If this had a longer run time the reason might have been needed to be explained, yet with this it doesn't need it. The acting is done very well by all involved and the camera work actually added to the sense of dread that was already present thanks to the environment the short was placed in. The one drawback to this one is that it starts out a little slow but picks up very quickly.

     The second season of The Dead Hour is a nice way to spend some time. The stories are much better paced than the previous season as well look more professional in the way they were shot and the use of angles have also gotten better as there are more tighter shots as well as the camera is much more fluid. The sound design and spoken dialogue audio have been improved over the last season which makes a big difference as there is more atmosphere added to the whole series thanks to this. The series has improved all around and director Daniel Iske has improved with it as it grows.   

     Jason's revelation that comes to late.

     It's art. Beautiful tragic art.

     Season 3 of The Dead Hour is already in production.

     Melissa Holder is the only actor to appear in all 10 episodes of The Dead Hour as DJ Raven.

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