Another Saw rip-off? Not quite.
Nine seemingly random strangers are attacked and abducted by a hooded figure wearing mask. They find themselves in an empty room together each hand-cuffed to a different pole. Their captor explains that they must discover what links them all and why they are here. He will kill one of them every 10 minutes until they do or they are all dead. If they figure it out, the survivors go free and he will confess to his crimes.
So, this is billed as a horror film, but there wasn't really anything that scarey about it. No torture devices, no monster, no demonic forces... Just a lunatic with a gun and nine people who are more messed-up than they care to admit to strangers. Had Saw not been made, this film would have probably been considered an interesting short dramatic story.
|All these people suck.|
The story is interesting and arguably well written, unlike some of the hack-kneed Saw rip-offs it follows. The acting is also fair, although this is clearly meant to be a vehicle for Melissa Joan Hart to step beyond her Sabrina the Teen Witch days. The films is simple, and its simplicity has some merit. It is shot almost entirely in the one room occupied by the characters and is each character is shot there is a minimal need for special effects. The story is carried almost entirely by the actors ability to portray their characters and react to the situation.
|This is as scarey as it gets.|
That said, Nine Dead is not a great film. The negative aspect of its simplicity is that it is at times boring. You don't really get to know any of the characters, other than discovering you don't like them and they all deserve to die... not for their crimes but for simply being annoying. Granted, you may only have 10 minutes to get to know each of them, but the amount of egoism in one room seems a little unbelievable. It is as if posturing between some of the characters was more important than their mutual survival.
Also, we have Melissa Joan Hart's character's rape. It has nothing really to do with the story. The character confesses to being raped; assaulted in a parking lot, taken into a van, beaten, clothes "ripped off", and raped. She recovers, grabs a baseball bat that was in the van, and beats her rapist to death. The beating is depicted, showing the character bloodied and dirty, beating something just off-screen. The problem is, she is fully clothed. She was just beaten and raped, but before grabbing the bat and retaliating against her attacker she puts on her pants, bra, and a shirt.
People who expect some continuity to their murder confessions will be taken right out of the film there.
You can skip this one.