DARK DITTIES PRESENTS: DAD (REVIEW)
Dir. Adam Evans
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
David is a young man who is fighting for survival in a world destroyed by a Zombie apocalypse, caused by The Risen Word Cult Leader Tyberius Krane. Lost in the woods with his father Terry who suffers from dementia, David soon finds another group of survivors who then seek shelter at the infamous Benoit Mansion. The mansion holds secrets from David's past and the mysterious Dr. Edward Brunner may be the only one who can unlock them.
DAD harks back to the golden age of zombie films like NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, a time before the blood and guts of the undead took over the sub-genre. Like all good zombie films, DAD is about it's ensemble rather than the surrounding waves of brain hungry mutants. Fortunately, Adam Evan's film manages to bring enough of a good cast together to ensure the drama keeps the audience enthralled.
Bringing back series regulars, Simon Banford (HELLRAISER), Mark Wingett (THE BILL), Corin Silva (ESCAPE ROOM: TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS), Ian Gelder (GAME OF THRONES) and Bruce Jones (CORONATION STREET) as well as welcome newbies Ian Beattie and Michael Higgs, this is a great ensemble for a low budget horror movie that uses it's strength in the love of horror to balance story and genuine elements of fear. The chemistry between father and son duo David and Terry is emotionally impactful, and will ring a little close to home for those who have known of sufferers of dementia however it never labours over its fiction bringing a blend of real horror with the zombie apocalypse occurring outside. Mark Wingett also gives a career high as the Reverend Alastair O'Brien who rides every scene with a sinister streak.
Quite cleverly, the film also works around the narrative of the zombie outbreak with real life footage from the international Covid response bringing home that this could happen (if not at least to this scale) and grounding the film a little harder than others in the sub-genre.
Interestingly, DAD brings back characters and themes from previous entries to the DARK DITTIES series but makes for a decent stand alone film for those not initiated in the modern foray into TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED territory. The series is getting entwined in plots featuring recurring characters and as such is an interesting world builder of different horror tropes married together for an MCU level event.
Even better, the series which has been piece meal over the years in bring new "episodes" has finally stretched into feature length, a criticism that was made from the brilliant first entry (THE OFFER). With a series of episodes so loosely released in schedule it's very difficult to market or distribute where a filmic series feels more satisfactory to how the series should follow, it's a shame that earlier entries felt a little keen to get out the door and some consideration to extend them into hour plus stories would give them more credit and make them more attractive to distributors.