Dead Envy is written, directed and starred Harley Di Nardo, the lead singer of Closer and White Light Motorcade, who created a dramatic music thriller, all shot on a budget of $50,000, so state it’s an indie production very true to its belief and concept. This indie thriller tries to keep two different storylines flowing while allowing them to crossover, however it stumbles just a bit, the problem comes from the budget. A big-budget thriller movie contains multiple subplots and storylines with suspense layering in and a red herring occurring, therefore the smaller projects need a slight-of-hand misdirect, and stay perhaps more rooted in drama than striving into thriller. The film also crosses into music, but is not a musical, just music artists striving for stardom. I will try to avoid any spoilers, but something for cinematic viewers to explore.
In the early years of the 2000’s, (Di Nardo) David Tangier’s band Katatonic Spin best band in the scene, but a family emergency pulled him off the road, and dashed his dreams, as the band went onto stardom. David still tries to present himself as a dormant superstar, however he’s more into recalling the glory days. So what does this aspiring do for work, well owning a hair salon, which is days from closing, simply because David spends more time whining about his career of singing and making music, his wife Cecily (Samantha Smart) humors him about his nostalgia views. He still wants a rock n’ roll lifestyle, and the normal life he considers prison, his restrictions just other inmates. Then enter Javy (Adam Reeser) who saves David from a heckler at the club, who criticized his music, and from there quickly welcome him to work at the salon. This all leads to turmoil, lies, secrets and darkness erupting from numerous characters, but Javy saves Cecily from a panic attack, she’s thankful and invites him home for a special dinner. However, Javy, a music artist also, battles with his own personal demons, which prevents him from achieving his own goals. Needless to say, the concern focuses on who’s going to become the star of the show, grab a ticket to see who comes out on top.
Harley’s film moves very quickly, a tad too fast for a thriller, or even dramatic flick, as the suspense build-up keeps falling by the wayside. It also appears to lack the sparkle of a music base, it just runs past any checklist of elements to make the film more intriguing. The movie scraps by with a runtime of 71-miuntes, normally 100-minutes for a thriller and 90, for a horror flick, at some moments it feels a punk show raging out of control and other times it’s a folk performance, too long and drawn out, missing a clear direction or set list. Some more depth or backstories on the principle characters goes a long way in developing a compelling film, for the viewers to invest their time.
The film covers familiar territory and struggles to achieve the basics in the thriller genre, leaving the viewer on the fence of what they saw, confused on the intended reasoning of David’s character’s intentions earlier on, actually having one oppose his impulsive behavior. While Reeser generates interest with his ability to switch his personalities quickly, depending on the situation and the interaction with others, these quirks save the movie.
IMDb Rating: No Rating as of August 31, 2018
Baron’s Rating: 4/10