Some good, some bad.
D. Booth | Cincinnati, OH | 07/22/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"As a 'Full Moon' junkie, I may be somewhat biased, but that wasn't as bad as it's been made out to be on the 'net.
I won't go in to a long-winded run down of the film (the other review does a good job of that) but, here are some thoughts:
The movie looks GREAT compared to other Full Moon (and b-horror for that matter) flicks. Camera work is good, audio is good, color is good. The acting is passable, again you have to remember what you're dealing with here, the gore is .. ok ..
My issues with this lie in the pacing more than anything else. Two people get waxed within the first 5 or 10 minutes of the movie then there's.............NOTHING. No action until the last 1/4 of the film. This fact makes 'Dead Man's Hand' a total yawnfest for the most part.
Great strides in the audio/visual department here, a few steps back in the action and actual enjoyability category.
Wait til it's out for a while and the price goes down, but if you're a Full Moon 'freak' you'll probably enjoy it. If not, keep browsing.
This low-budge quickie has no chance of beating Aces over Ei
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 07/20/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"You know how in splatter flicks, "Scream" being the exception that proves the rule, having sex is a sure sign that a character is going to die? Well in "Dead Man's Hand: Casino of the Damned," there are characters who merit their deaths by PRETENDING to have sex. Of course, in this film you can end up just as dead by deciding whether or not to ask for another card at the blackjack table. But that is what you have to expect when the dealer is dead. This is at least the third movie with the title "Dead Man's Hand" made this century, and although the hand that was in Will Bill Hickock's hands when he was gunned down does come into play at the climax of the movie, it is really the "Casino of the Damned" that is more indicative of what this attempt at camp horror is all about.
Matthew Dragna (Scott Whyte) inherits an old casino from his uncle and shows up with his friends to discover what he now owns is a decrepit gambling palace that got shot down after a bloody mob massacre took place there. There's Matthew's girlfriend JJ (Robin Sydney), Emily (Lily Rains) who is the smart one with the glasses who has a system for counting cards, Jimbo (Wes Armstrong) the friendly guy, Skeeter (Kavan Reece) the jerk, and Paige (Kristyn Green), his vocal girlfriend. They show up trying to figure out how to turn the place into their own personal goldmine, only to discover that that whatever else might not come with the place it does have a curse. It seems that it was Matthew's uncle who was responsible for the massacre and they have been waiting for payback for some time now.
Heading up the ghosts that make up the titular Casino of the Damned are a couple of familiar faces, Sid Haig ("House of 1,000 Corpses") as Roy "The Word" Donahue and Michael Berryman ("The Hills Have Eyes") as Gil Wachetta, but neither of them is required to do anything let alone get into their roles. You also have a creepy bartender (Bob Rumnock), a cold blonde (Jessica Morris), and a crazed Blackjack dealer (Rico Simonini). Yes, that means there are five ghosts just like there are five cards in a poker hand, whether it is aces over eights or not. Now that a blood relative of the man who killed them has showed up they want to even things up by killing five of the six. At least this is an interesting idea: one of them is guaranteed to get out alive. I saw something similar in another horror film earlier this month, but neither one of them really exploits the idea, which could get pretty intense when the choice between death or life comes down to you and the one that you love. But "Dead Man's Hand" does not go in that direction. In fact, it takes a long time to get around to much of anything happening that would be on interest to horror fans.
This 2007 film is directed by Charles Brand for Full Moon Pictures, which Brand started after Empire Pictures collapsed in the 1980s. Brand has produced a couple hundred movies under assorted names and directed a couple dozen films, and come up with story ideas for a bunch as well, most notably the "Puppetmaster" trilogy. The script is by August White ("Doll Graveyard") and if this 80-minute film were a 30-minute episode of some television horror anthology it would be a whole lot better because basically it take way too long for what little happens in this film to start happening. There are quantitative and qualitative problems with the camp half of the equation here, and by the time we get to see the evil faces of the ghosts they look silly rather than horrific or even campy. This is a low-budget quickie and it shows."