Friday, 27 April 2012

Diagnosis: Death (2010)

After a very promising start, Diagnosis: Death soon becomes a stale affair that will disappoint fans of the talent involved. In fact, if you pick this up because you're a fan of Flight Of The Conchords then you may be in for a crushing disappointment. I've seen product listings that recommend this to fans of Flight Of The Conchords but general comments from fans tend to be in complete disagreement. And as for any praise that compares this to the early works of Peter Jackson . . . . . . . . . . no, just no. That comparison is, quite frankly, ludicrous. The early works of Peter Jackson are full of energy, great humour and lashings of gore. This movie has some laughs, few scares and a relatively lethargic pace.

The story starts with a man (Rabon Kan) being diagnosed with terminal cancer. This isn't the best news, as you can imagine. His one very slim chance is to get himself put on a drug trial. Once in the medical centre, he meets a young girl (Jessica Grace Smith) and the two of them soon bond over good conversation and strange experiences that may or may not be shared hallucinations. There would seem to be some busy spirits roaming the corridors and a dark past that wants to affect the present.

People who know my rating system and my penchant for small movies that simply strive to entertain will know, I hope, that I always try/tend to be generous. Bearing that in mind, my rating of 4/10 for this film may still be a little bit more than most people might give it.

There's just nothing here to enjoy after the first 10 minutes. Acting that doesn't exactly set the screen alight, no chemistry whatsoever between the characters, flat and uninspired direction making the whole thing look like a very amateur TV production at times and, worst of all for a horror comedy, a notable absence of horror and comedy, for the most part.

Raybon Kan is okay here and there but the movie is saved from being completely turgid by the presence of Jessica Grace Smith and Suze Tye, both presenting very different ways of gaining and holding your interest whenever they're onscreen (the former has a nice energy while the latter has a great air of potential villainy).

Director Jason Stutter, who also co-wrote the film with star Rabon Kan, can shoulder a lot of the blame but I can't help thinking that someone behind the scenes may deserve a bit of a dressing down, someone who came up with a flimsy concept and just convinced everyone that if they could get the folk from Flight Of The Conchords involved then they would have a cult hit, no matter how poor the final product was. I don't know who that someone is, it may end up being Sutter once more, but I hope that they are kept away from any decision making meetings for the next 20 years or so.


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