The Dead Inside – A zom-rom-com-musical… or just a great f%#!ing movie!
Written and directed by: Travis Betz
A couple of years ago, I was sitting at home, on my day off, looking for something to watch on Netflix. I did my usual hour of browsing, and then I came across a movie called “Lo”. The poster for the movie looked interesting, and after reading the plot synopsis of a woman being kidnapped by a demon and her boyfriend trying to save her, I decided why the hell not? The movie, written and directed by Travis Betz and starring a terrific Sarah Lassez, instantly became one of my favorites. It was weird and funny and, above all else, insanely entertaining. Then, about a week ago, I decided to re-watch the genre-defying gem… and I loved it even more the second time! This lead me to wonder out loud “I wonder what else this guy (Betz) has done?”
So I hopped onto Amazon, and punched his name into the search field. To my surprise, he had done a few other films most of which had good reviews. What had I been missing? I decided to find out, and I ordered a DVD copy of “The Dead Inside”. I chose this particular movie, because I saw the name Sarah Lassez on it, and like I said she was a-freakin-mazing in “Lo”.
So… flash forward to today. I woke up to the sound of a UPS guy knocking on my door so hard it sounded like he was trying to break it down. When I opened the door, I realized what I was going to be doing tonight. Watching and reviewing “The Dead Inside”. I just finished watching it, so here goes nothing.
Wes (Fasching) and Fi (Lassez) love each other to death (pun intended). The only problem is they are miserable with their careers. Wes, a gifted photographer, is spinning his wheels and trying to pay the bills doing wedding photography. Fi, a successful writer of a zombie book series, has a horrible case of writers block. Those problems take a back seat though when Fi starts displaying some really strange behavior (think floating above the bed in the middle of the night). Before long, Wes realizes this isn’t Fi at all, but a ghostly spirit named “Emily”. With all of this being too much to bare, Wes begins to unravel as he tries to fins any way of getting the love of his life back.
Throughout the film, we are also treated to a reenactment (by the same actors) of the new novel Fi is, or was, working on. The zombie couple from the book, Harper and Max, go through a parallel series of problems when Harper goes from being Max’s rotting, flesh eating girlfriend to being a living human again. It is in these zombie scenes that we get most of the laughs the film provides. It is really damn impressive to watch the chemistry between Lassez and Fasching. Whether human or undead, they play off of each other impeccably well. Lassez, in particular, shoulders much of the weight of the film with her performance. She has this unique, vulnerable yet strong quality to her that really shines through in Fi/Emily. In both of Betz’s film in which he has used her, she delivers incredible performances that draw the viewer into the story. That is a rare gift, and one that should be applauded.
Much like in “Lo”, Betz has created something that defies genre. It just so happens that films (and film creators) that are able to do that successfully are usually my favorites. His script, characters, and style are transfixing. That is most definitely true in this case, as I adored every weird, off-the-wall moment in “The Dead Inside”. Oh… and I can’t forget the music. It…is…awesome! There are a handful of fun, funny, original songs performed by the two stars that really took the movie to that next level and have to be seen/heard to be believed.
My only complaint about this film is that I waited so long to see it. I suggest you not make the same mistake. If you like zombies, love stories, musical numbers, or just fun and thought-provoking movies you will want to see this (and “Lo” too while you’re at it) immediately. Meanwhile, the next item on my agenda is to go buy the rest of Betz’s films.