I really thought that I was back on a nice, consistent schedule with my reviews, but here I am two weeks since my last. I didn’t really know what to throw on tonight, as I haven’t been much in the mood for films lately. Still, I managed to find something in the endless amounts of stacks I have laying around. Read on as I share with you my thoughts on Chris Bavota and Lee Paula Springer’s Dead Dicks.
After receiving multiple distressing messages from her suicidal brother, Becca (Jillian Harris, Saint-Narcisse) rushes to his apartment. After some confusion, she finds Richie alive and well. Her relief is short-lived, however, when she realizes his apartment is full of copies of his own dead body.
I first heard of Dead Dicks when I received an email about its impending home release. I didn’t know much about it, but with a title like that, I figured I shouldn’t miss the opportunity to get my hands on it.
Directed by Chris Bavota and Lee Paula Springer, Dead Dicks plays out like a sci-fi horror flick with some comedic elements sprinkled in for good measure. It focuses on the highly sensitive subject of mental illness, but surrounds it with a giant vagina and whole lot of dead bodies.
Filmed almost entirely in one location, this 2019 Canadian production stars only a handful of characters. Becca is played by Jillian Harris and Richie by Heston Horwin (Rock Steady Row). The two are pretty damn great together on screen, playing the role of siblings perfectly. They bicker and argue like brother and sister, while also being able to have some really great heart-to-heart moments.
It is in these more serious moments that the already impressive performances are ramped up to another level. I’d like to think that most, if not all, siblings look out for each other. In order to protect one another, sometimes they need to keep secrets or tell a small lie to not hurt the others’ feelings. In Dead Dicks, both Becca and Richie have some things they are hiding and when these painful truths come out, so, too, do Harris and Horwin’s real acting chops.
With each heartfelt confession, each truth told by Richie, I truly and honestly felt for him. Horwin’s portrayal of someone suffering from mental illness is astounding throughout the film’s entire 83 minutes, sometimes hitting too close to home.
Mental illness is nothing to take lightly, but directors Bavota and Springer, who also both happened to write the film, as well, manage to throw in some more lighthearted moments from time to time. This levity does a great deal to progress the film, which was a welcome trait during the more sluggish stretches.
The little bouts of chuckling that I experienced were not only great to bring me back up from the more serious, upsetting ones, but also to distract from the fact that there is some other horrific stuff going on here.
I take pride in the fact that I do not get into spoiler territory with my reviews. I will stick to that formula here, too, but I will say that at one point, the whole ‘returning from the dead’ thing doesn’t go so well.
Each time Richie successfully kills himself, he comes back, leaving his last dead body where it lays. That same thing doesn’t happen when another character is presented with death. That, my friends, is what produces some scenes of true horror.
Dead Dicks at Home
Dead Dicks is available now on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD/streaming from Artsploitation Films. The Blu-ray release presents the film in 2.39:1 Widescreen format and contains English 5.1 Dolby Digital and 2.0 Dolby Stereo audio tracks, as well as optional English subtitles.
Bonus features include a directors’ commentary with both Bavota and Springer, as well as numerous video diaries and an FX featurette, showing off some of the awesome practical make-up work seen throughout the film. Also included are some trailer for other Artsploitation Film titles.
Dead Dicks features a small but very talented cast and some great special effects, a combination of both practical and digital. While the plot of events repeating themselves over and over very loosely resemble something like Groundhog Day or Happy Death Day and its sequel, this film is still very much an original story.
I will admit that I don’t necessarily get its entire meaning — the whole giant vagina in the wall and all — but I do appreciate mental illness being the true focus here and applaud the directors, cast and crew, for making a film like this.
Be sure to grab a copy of Dead Dicks for yourself, as I give it 3.5 copies of a copy of a copy of a copy out of 5.