LIGHTS CAMERA DEAD
Lights Camera Dead comes with an appealing meta-premise it is a low-budget horror film made by novice filmmakers about the making of a low-budget horror film by novices who turn their efforts into a real-life horror movie. It is a premise that makes one think of the level of meta-fictional referentiality that came in Scream (1996). Or perhaps even more than Scream of Incident at Loch Ness (2004), which kept up a constant level of play between documentary filmmakers, the attempt to fake the appearance of the monster and appearances of the real monster. There was also two subsequent low-budget horror films that take place on a horror movie set with Bleading Lady/Star Vehicle (2010), Fright Flick (2011) and Silent But Deadly (2011).
Lights Camera Dead sets in particularly amusingly from the opening scene where the director (Wes Reid) and writer (J.C. Lira) attempt to cast their film and we pass through a montage of audition scenes that include an actor who emotes everything with melodramatic overemphasis, another that does with no expression, another who thinks he is auditioning for a porn film to a white homeboy trying to fit things around his parole appearances Nephilim, aint that when you fuck dead people and shit? Im a crazy-ass white boy but I had those thoughts a few times. The wry characterisations, as much of the auditioning actors as of the director and writer, come with a clever deadpan humour that constantly plays around the edges of the scene. The subsequent scenes where they are attempting to shoot the film, but things constantly gets thrown awry by the ineptitudes of the crew and the men fawning over the women is hilarious and is especially clever for the fact that Tim Reaper manages to pack so many wry throwaway pieces into scenes that come via handheld camerawork. Equally funny is the scene where Amy Lollo gets a series of visions of Wes Reid imprecating her to open the envelope.
The film becomes even funnier as the bodies start piling up. Like the first murder where they attack the editor (Hunter White) and then Wes Reid stands over calmly reflecting: Hes dead. We killed him. And all I can think is how good that would look on film. There are hilarious scenes like where Wes Reid wants writer J.C. Lira to hold the camera so that he can conduct a directors cameo that ends up in an argument as Lira protests But youre not an established character. Or where redneck passerby John Patton finds Wes Reid pretending to lie bloodied on the road and asks if he can help only for Wes Reid to get up and ask him: Can you say The Nephilims quest to partake of human flesh will commence under the blood red sky? only to get a puzzled response, Well, can you at least just say The Nephilim is near? which receives an indignant outburst from screenwriter J.C. Lira on the sideline Thats not the line. The film ends with the director and screenwriter hacking each other to pieces in a dispute over screen credit and the surviving heroine (Amy Lollo) going on to claim the film as her own, sitting down to watch the premiere surrounded by the corpses of the crew.
Though it is a low-budget production by industry amateurs, Lights Camera Dead is shot, directed and acted with a high degree of professionalism. One minor complaint is that, while the film sells itself with the line less bore ... more gore, it is relatively restrained in the gore department, apart from one scene where Monica Moehring gets her intestines torn out. One must also commend the clever opening credits sequence where the cast and crews names appear on tapes and labels attached to film and makeup equipment, even storyboards. The end credits insert a peculiar credit for Star Wars  Historians.