Twice Dead (1988)

Genres - Horror  |   Release Date - Sep 30, 1988 (USA)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Twice Dead deserves credit for having a novel story hook: instead of doing the typical slasher flick, it mixes a vintage ghost story setup with an urban thriller plot that has echoes of Class Of 1984 and Straw Dogs. Unfortunately, that is where the film's inventiveness ends. The script does little with its intriguing amalgam of elements. Even worse, our teen heroes aren't that smart: they come up with a plan so dumb to get rid of their nemeses that the viewer is tempted to cheer on the villains when they come back. Twice Dead also suffers from a certain stylistic schizophrenia, going for a quiet, old-dark-house approach with minimal violence or exploitable content for much of its running time before giving way to a surprisingly trashy and gruesome third act. Bert Dragin's direction is competent but the lacks the flair such a would-be genre-bender needs. It doesn't help that he gets limp performances from an ill-chosen group of gang members, most of whom are ludicrously unconvincing as tough types. Tom Breznahan and Jill Whitlow turn in solid work as the heroes but it isn't enough to overcome the conceptual problems and indifferent execution on display here. As a result, Twice Dead is best left to the completists in horror and low-budget exploitation fan circles.