Allow me to being by shooting you straight. 8 Found Dead isn’t an overwhelming success. It doesn’t get everything right. It’s rough around the edges, featuring gaps in logic and performances that don’t always work. But the film makes up for its shortcomings via relatively strong showings from its central antagonists.
The proceedings follow Sam (Alisha Soper), Dwayne (William Gabriel Grier), Carrie (Aly Trasher), and Ricky (Eddy Acosta) as they set off on a romantic couples’ weekend away at a home share rental property. Their respective arrivals are staggered because one of the pairs gets a late start. This distinction creates two primary timelines. Upon arrival at the rental, each set of lovers is greeted by Liz and Richard, an older couple claiming they also booked the rental. It quickly becomes evident that Richard and Liz don’t belong there. But both sets of legitimate renters acquiesce to the presence of the eccentric pair so as not to make a scene. Liz and Richard have no boundaries and not even a modicum of self-restraint. They do, however, have a knack for making everyone else uncomfortable and a shared propensity for violence.
The film’s tagline is: “F*ck whodunnit, it’s who survives.” And that’s a pretty accurate summation of the approach director Travis Greene and writer Jonathan Buchanan take to the proceedings. There’s no great mystery as to who the heroes and villains of the piece are. But much of the fun comes from seeing who will survive the night and what grave misfortunes they’ll endure along the way.
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Throughout 8 Found Dead, the primary narrative bounces between the two couples that actually paid for the home share. Since both pairs arrive at different times, we switch betwixt the separate timelines. While I initially thought the constant back-and-forth derailed some of the tension building, I ultimately came to appreciate the frenetic approach by the end. The back-and-forth movement kept me disoriented, allowing the finale to make a bigger impact as it diverged from that which I had been anticipating.
Though it takes a while for everything to come together as a cohesive whole, the time spent waiting is made more enjoyable by absolutely unhinged performances from Rosanne Limeres and Tim Simek as Liz and Richard, respectively. They aren’t always polished with their delivery, but their commitment to their roles goes a long way toward making up for what the film doesn’t get quite right. Limeres and Simek recite their insane dialogue with total sincerity, uttering the most outrageous lines in the script without a trace of irony. In spite of being scripted as the antagonists, the pair often steals the show from their more grounded counterparts.
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I would have liked to have seen the narrative focus even more on Richard and Liz. There are a handful of scenes familiarizing the audience with the small-town cops who are called to the scene in the wake of the ordeal that transpires at the home rental. The law officers (who were once legally wed) are fleshed out with a backstory that finds them grappling to find the new normal following their split. But that’s ultimately wasted time that I’d rather have spent with the antagonists, who punch up almost every scene in which they feature.
8 Found Dead works best when it’s making the viewer uncomfortable. The scenes where we’re forced to watch the rightful guests subjected to overly personal questions, unwanted advances, and other assorted displays of flagrantly poor etiquette are among the picture’s finest moments. The unwanted guests with no designs on leaving add to the mounting sense of tension with their parasitic presence, leaving the viewer in a perpetual state of unease.
On the whole, I enjoyed 8 Found Dead. As I mentioned previously, it isn’t overly polished. And some of the performances can be a bit rough. But there’s ultimately a good time to be had here if you can connect with what works and set aside what doesn’t.
The film is now playing in select theaters and via VOD and Digital if you’re curious to check it out for yourself.
While not everything works in ‘8 Found Dead’, the film is ultimately an entertaining experience featuring two incredible unhinged performances from the central antagonists.
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