Young, High and Dead, a micro-budget slasher by Luke Brady and co-directors Jonathan Brady, Daniel Fenton, and Thabo Mhiatshwa, starts strong. Some chilly handheld footage of a chained leg, a creative title sequence that looks like zooming through a landscape in whiteout, and our first taste of the electronic, hip hop tinged score by Blue Daisy. Acting is strong throughout, and the film is overall quite atmospheric. Unfortunately, the movie stalls out getting our crew of young people into the woods where they can start dying – there’s just not enough script here to keep the momentum rolling for the hour until the blood starts flying. What we get instead is a whole lot of booze, coke, and weed. That’s all fine and good, but without much structure or finely crafted dialog, we get the equivalent of going to a party sober and listening to a bunch of lushes blather on, and the rough sound recording makes it all a bit tough to decipher. Once our crew hits the sack, the horror begins. Running, screaming, arguing, getting axed. After such a long buildup, it’s a little ironic that the climax feels rushed, and it’s hard to figure out what is happening with the shaking camera, yelling, and blue contrast. We do get a particularly enjoyable blood-explosion, however.
Young, High and Dead needed more work on the page to give the characters depth and to add some much-needed structure. Still, an admirable no-budget effort. If Brady spends a bit more time with the pen and PC before the cameras roll next time, he could have something great on his hands.