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Dead Above Ground

Directed by Chuck Bowman

Written by Stephen J. Cannell

Starring Corbin Bernsen, Stephen J. Cannell, Robert Conrad, Adria Dawn

Produced by Stephen J. Cannell

Rated R

90 minutes

Oh, I’m scared from the very beginning on this one.

I’m not scared because of the quality of the script, or the skill of the actors. I’m scared right before I even took the video out of the box.

I’m scared because of five little words at the bottom of the box, in very small print, that you need to strain to see. And not “Lions Gate Home Entertainment production,” either, scary as that usually is. I’m scared because of this: “Written by Stephen J. Cannell.”

That’s right…the guy who brought us fifty billion hackneyed crime dramas decided that, somehow, he just wasn’t hitting his stride on stuff like Hardcastle and McCormick, so why not take a crack at horror?

Even worse, the select cursor on the title screen is a pentagram. That automatically loses points with me. Anyone dumb enough to use this tired, hackneyed plot device in a menu select screen just doesn’t merit much respect from me. Stop using the pentagrams-puerile, pointless blasphemy like that is like a four year old running around screaming the opening rap from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back at the top of his lungs. It’s just plain disrespect to the audience.

Even ignoring these obvious problems, you know we’ve got a real winner on our hands, though what it wins is a big plaque laden with profanities.

So what we have here is the story of Jeff Lucas, a future Columbine Award winner from somewhere called Bay City. Jeff isn’t what you’d call a popular kid, and the local popular kids seem to have forgotten the numerous lessons of school shootings and have marked Jeff for all the torment they can dish out. Things get even worse for Jeff after he makes a horror movie instead of a documentar

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.

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