Dead Cert review (DVD)

Director Steve Lawson's debut feature Just for the Record didn't go down too well with viewers, mainly because its distributor decided to market it as a gangster movie rather than a mockumentary about the making of an ill-fated film, thus basically fooling the audience and their expectations. With Dead Cert, Lawson helms a far more ambitious film and this time it's actually about gangsters. And vampires.

Yes, Dead Cert combines the London underworld with creatures of the night to create a blood-soaked, foul-mouthed frenzy that actually delivers the goods as far as the gangbanging goes, but doesn't hold much (holy) water when it comes to melding the suck-your-blood violence with the cockney geezers, which is the film's main problem.

When a retired gangster (Fairbrass) fulfils his dream to run a nightclub that's taken years to achieve, he's naturally not going to give it up too easily. But when a pack of Romanian mobsters arrive on the scene for a major drugs deal, Paradise (the club) soon becomes part of a stake (no pun intended) which involves a few million pounds of the Romanians' money. The bet is contested over a bare knuckle fight between one of Fairbrass' bods and a Romanian behemoth. With the fight ending in the death of the Englishman, the club is turned over to the foreigners and soon becomes Inferno. But why would these mobsters want the club so badly? Well, that's because they're vampires and the club is built on ancient land that holds a mystical sentiment for the blood-suckers.

It's fairly standard stuff and once the vampires show their true colours (and razor-sharp fangs) it becomes a little like a watered down, not so enjoyable version of From Dusk Till Dawn with the protagonists trapped inside a club and planning to fight back against the vamps. It's ultimately superior to Just for the Record, so it gets my appreciation on that, but it doesn't get a whole lot of love from me beyond that point. The writing is pretty bad and it hams up the performances – even the good ones – in a film where the capabilities of its cast are challenged. It seems as though the writer has a penchant for putting the language of cockney villains on paper, but outside of those characters the dialogue is in a pretty sorry state.

There's lots of blood (some painful CG) and F-bombs, but they don't necessarily make for a good movie, making Dead Cert dead forgettable.

EXTRAS ?? A making-of feature and a full-length audio commentary.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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