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The Living And The Dead (2008)

Richard Syms , Leo Bill , Simon Rumley  |  Unrated |  DVD
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Richard Syms, Leo Bill, Sarah Ball, Kate Fahy, Neil Conrich
  • Directors: Simon Rumley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: TLA Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2008
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011B9W6U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,114 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Review

An indie-horror classic of the future! --Salon.com

Twisted! A bizarre psychological study of degeneration and dependency --The New York Times

Truly disturbing! One of the most indelible antiheroes seen on screen in recent years --Fangoria

Twisted! A bizarre psychological study of degeneration and dependency --The New York Times

Truly disturbing! One of the most indelible antiheroes seen on screen in recent years --Fangoria

Product Description

A furiously original meld of madness and pathos, The Living and the Dead is family dysfunction at its most shocking and grotesque. With bankruptcy looming, desperate Donald Brocklebank (Roger Lloyd Pack, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) must leave his bedridden wife alone with their son James - a schizophrenic man-child. In a horrific fit of dementia James abandons his medication, locks the doors, and plays nurse. As his ability to distinguish morbid fantasy from reality decays, he plunges into a mental labyrinth so violent and deranged none of them may survive it.

Special Features:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Making Of Featurette
  • Laughter - A Short Film By Simon Rumley
  • Photo Gallery
  • Original Trailer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult and deranged, a descent into madness March 21, 2008
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This disturbing psychodrama is a far cry from most horror films. Centered on the death of the mother of the family, the plot revolves around Donald Brocklebank, a father who is seeing his manor fall into poverty, his psychotic son and his terminally ill wife. James, the son, is raging with visions that he can take care of his ailing mother, which takes up the movie's disturbing first third. When Daddy heads to London to find more funds to take care of his wife (or answer to some hinted upon controversy published in the local newspaper - you're never quite sure), James locks out the family nurse so he can be the caretaking "man of the house." Thus is his mother sent into a claustrophobic filmed hell. The scenes where James cares for/brutalizes her are maddeningly disturbing.

Then the Police and rescue arrive. Or do they? James loads himself with drugs and falls into deeper, murderous madness. Or does he? Daddy Donald is protective of his son - or is he repulsed? Yes, the movie really is that disjointed, presented in the schizophrenia that James (Leo Bill) must have running through his own mind. But then again, as the film's final act posits, maybe James isn't the one descended into madness.

It's easy to see how "The Living and The Dead" would be a hit with film fest types, as it has just the barest hint of narrative from which all sorts of angst and art dangle. Director/Writer Simon Lumley has commented that his movie is a direct reaction to losing his own mother to Cancer, and the infuriating helplessness he felt as the disease progressed. It is a blunt emotional force, confusing and frightening, that he brings to "The Living and The Dead," and not an altogether watchable one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh My... March 12, 2008
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I thought this was a very very difficult movie to watch. Disturbing insights into a disturbed mind crossed with family drama. Production is minimal (nice!). When it was over, I felt like I had been through a physical workout - I think it was more of a mental workout really - and I wanted to watch again. This one really get's you thinking and tried to get you into the head of a schizophrenic man (I believe that would be the main character's diagnosis), and does so convincingly. If you are interested in the potential impact of serious mental illness on families, five the Living and the Dead a watch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Misunderstood Masterpiece! May 22, 2011
By shew
Format:DVD
This film doesn't follow the main stream U.S. style, but it will not disappoint! This film will keep you in suspense until the very end which, if understood, is the perfect ending to a well written, directed, and casted film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Living and the Dead March 16, 2008
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Besides the excellent performance by Richard Lloyd Pack as the father, and the fine performances by Kate Fahey as the mother and Sarah Ball as the nurse, there is not much to recommend in this film. The performance by Leo Bill as the son was goofey. Whether this performance was created by the actor or a result of the director's vision, the character was played as a spastic with none of the menace or desperation you would expect from a disillusioned, tortured soul so frustrated by his physical and mental limitations that he resorts to murder.

The story is a fairly simple tale of the disintegration of a family due to financial problems, physical illness, and a son with severe mental problems. Unfortunately it wasn't told very well. I went to the director's website and read his synopsis of the film. Many of the minor details of the story that might have made the film more interesting, such as the institutionalizing of the son or the sale of the house, weren't in the film. Instead what is told is the story in it's barest most straightforward form. Without these additional elements, this is a 10 minute story stretched to 80 minutes.

It is always nice to see a filmmaker who doesn't rely on the extreme closeups that make up the bulk of Hollywood films, but the images presented here weren't that interesting to watch. Over half the film consists of one character or another slowly walking across a room, down a hallway or up a stairway. Many of these same shots were used more than once. About 1/2 way through the film a shot looking down from the top of a stairway as someone walked through a doorway was nicely composed. Other than that nothing else was very impressive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Muddled final act derails the promising first half. March 10, 2008
Format:DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This film follows a mentally handicapped young man who is living with his father and invalid mother. The film sets up early on that James has a severe mental illness that renders him unable to care for himself. His mother Nancy is confined to her bed, while father Donald has his hands full caring for both. But when Donald is called away on business, James gets angry that he isn't left in charge. He wants to prove to his parents that he is the man of the house - so he locks the hired nurse out of the house and begins to try and take care of his mother. Things quickly spiral out of control as James stops taking his medicine and "forces" his care onto his distraught mother.

The setup for the film is quite nice. Rumley creates a soft-spot for the audience in James and his father. Early scenes show James freaking out and his father lovingly taking care of him. Later, as James begins to put his mother's life in danger, we do not feel so much angry with James, but rather we feel sorry for him. This film is less about the danger faced by Nancy, and more about the sadness of James' strong desire yet incapicity to care for his mom.

Unfortunately, the main story "ends" about midway through the film, and the final act begins to fall apart. James' psychosis begins to go into overdrive, and he has one of the strangest hallucinations I've seen in film. Later, his father goes similarly nuts, and it begins to become difficult to follow the storyline. By the end, it was difficult to tell who had done what to whom, and how much of what we saw really took place, and when. This muddled final act undoes all the good the first half had set up.

Performances are good across the board, with Leo Bill having the most difficult job of the three bringing James' psychosis to life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really a horror..
The movie hardly classifies as a horror, as the cover leads you to believe.. It's more a piece about schizophrenia and mental illness gone awry.. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Jimmy R
4.0 out of 5 stars Decent, But Not Great
I agree with a lot of what the other reviewers have said. An interesting, thought provoking, albeit slow-paced, film done on a budget. Read more
Published on September 10, 2010 by J. A. KONRATH
2.0 out of 5 stars Misery...British Style
'The Living And The Dead' is a British film that concerns a, um, slightly disturbed young man who lives with his parents in a rundown old estate. Read more
Published on May 27, 2010 by Arthur Kicker
1.0 out of 5 stars The Living And The Dead
I really, really hate to give bad reviews, but this movie was awful ~~ it actually sounded like it was going to be good, but it's hard to watch, poor acting and bad writing. Read more
Published on April 15, 2010 by Kindle Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I was just tired, but it didn't make much sense to me.
I love horror movies. I even enjoy bad horror movies. But not this one.

The premise was interesting: a schizophrenic son tries to care for his bedridden mother while... Read more
Published on February 25, 2009 by Lauryn Angel
1.0 out of 5 stars There's a reason you've never heard of it.
Poorly written, filmed, and acted, The Living and the Dead is a disjointed mess. It's barely watchable.
Published on September 18, 2008 by Maine Writer
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so bad it's good, just a bit pointless
Quite simply, I feel bad for some of the otherwise good actors trapped in this film. Their presence is a clear indication of the wasted potential here. Read more
Published on July 18, 2008 by DPK
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay...
I didn't care much for this movie, however I commend fact that it is an accurate portray of mental illness. Read more
Published on May 15, 2008 by D. Frazier
1.0 out of 5 stars Confusing
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD sounds like it has a decent plot, but don't be fooled. Things are so convoluted and disoriented that even when the plot begins to make sense, it doesn't... Read more
Published on April 25, 2008 by tvtv3
2.0 out of 5 stars A Film of Minimilist Dialogue
This was, to say the least, a very different and interesting movie. With minimialist dialogue and fast-action sequences, the movie does become hard to follow. Read more
Published on April 24, 2008 by John L. Hoh Jr.
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