DEAD LOVE (a.k.a. A Song For The Living) ** USA 2018 Dir: Colin Floom, Greg Nemer. 79 mins
Grayson Law is a young Damien Rice-ish musician struggling to cope with his mom’s recent suicide, facing the banal practicalities of coffin costs alongside an attempt to understand who she was in life. He falls for Nicole Elizabeth Olson, the beautiful younger sister of the funeral director whose unusual secret takes this low key, sombre drama into horror territory in the last 20 minutes.
This starts as an introspective indie drama punctuated with florid dream sequences and the kind of flowery would-be profound dialogue that feels a lot like a po-faced Sixth Form play translated to film. It’s nicely shot, and well acted, with the stunning Olson pulling off the transition from radiant seductress to a melancholic antagonist, while Law has a certain kind of shabby Casey Affleck-ish appeal. Sadly, it’s dull rather than involving, with the tonal juggling of Gothic romance, black comedy and a study of mundane everyday grief an ambitious feat that never comes off.
Review by Steven West