Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Laura Palmer’s father and his wife Laura (weird) are taking their annual trip to grandma’s house for Christmas. The bickering couple are joined by their psychology student daughter, Marion, their insufferably annoying teenage son, Richard, and Marion’s boyfriend, Brad (I’ve never met a “Brad” who wasn’t a complete asshole).
Late at night as everyone slumbers, Laura Palmer’s father makes the unfortunate decision to take an off-road shortcut onto a lone road surrounded by an impossibly claustrophobic forest. Later as the family bickers about this decision, a woman holding a baby suddenly appears in front of them and they nearly run her down before stopping. Upon closer inspection they find that the woman appears traumatized. She is sporting a large gash across her head and she appears to be in shock.
Cell phones do not work (of course!) so Laura Palmer’s father drives on and on in a vain attempt to find anyone with a telephone. With no signs or evidence of humanity it does not take long before they conclude that they are on a road to nowhere, which would be a more appropriate title for this film given that the definition of a dead end is: “A path or strategy that goes nowhere or is blocked on one end.” Hmmm, I guess “dead end” is an appropriate title after all. I’m a dope.
Adding to their troubles is the occasional appearance of a spectral-like hearse that seems to be stalking them. Following each appearance one of the family members disappears and is carried off to meet a terrible fate. As the family squabbles over what to do family secrets and regrets spill forth and old hurts are reignited.
I enjoyed Dead End. Sure the characters are annoying and they don’t behave like people would behave given the situation, but the simplistic plot is effective and engrossing enough. It’s the kind of story that makes you say, “This is ridiculous but I want to see how it all turns out”. At the end of the day Dead End plays like an extended Twilight Zone episode with requisite “twist”. It’s always nice to see Ray Wise although I’m unable to think of him as anyone else but Leland Palmer.