Billy Senese’s supernatural thriller The Dead Center offers a frightening and disturbing tale of death and madness.
The Dead Center
(USA 2018, director: Billy Senese)
Hospital psychiatrist Daniel is confronted with an amnesiac patient who is convinced that he died and brought something back from beyond, with strange deaths occuring soon.
The best stories or movies in the horror genre are usually those that create suspense in a realistic setting and don’t offer much explanation, which is the case here. While a certain mythology of suicides and deaths is built around the hospital rooms, the rather short runtime of around 90 minutes focuses more on psychological horror than mysticism, which makes it all the more effective.
What starts out as a mental illness drama with social criticism, showing how some hospitals treat patients as fast as possible to make room for the next ones, things soon get out of control and become very scary. There are some shockingly violent and bloody scenes, but jumpscares are rare, with only the finale becoming bigger than what one would expect. It’s certainly nothing groundbreaking in the horror genre and identifying with the characters is a bit difficult, as there isn’t too much interaction between them and none are particularly likable. However, as a chilling thriller with horror elements and without any major special effects, The Dead Center works surprisingly well.
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