Dead On Arrival; Corruption Infects With A Bang
Dead On Arrival. Film Details.
Director: Stephen C. Sepher
Writer: Stephen C. Sepher
Release Date: March 23th, 2018
Release Format: Theaters
MPAA Rating: N/A
Running Time: 97 mins
A pharmaceutical sales rep visits a small town in Louisiana on business. He finds himself in a dark world of corruption and murder with 24 hours to live, running from the police, the mob and a sheriff that wants him dead.
Billy Flynn, played by Sam Collins, is desperately trying to find out who fatally poisoned him in Stephen C. Sepher’s crime thriller Dead On Arrival, a re-imagination of 1949’s classic film noir D.O.A.
Sam Collins as Billy Flynn
Billy Slaughter as Dr. Alexander
Christa B. Allen as Jessie
Scottie Thompson as Bonnie
Lillo Brancato as Zanca
Chris Mulkey as Hans Dunkel
Stephen C. Sepher as Vince
Laura Flannery as Tammy
Christopher Rob Bowen as Deputy Renee
D. B. Sweeney as Detective Spiro
Dead On Arrival is influenced by the film noir D.O.A. from 1949 and its remake from 1988 starring Dennis Quaid. I haven’t watched both films to be sincere so I can’t compare it to either one of them, but I can address what I truly thought of the film as a standalone tale of corruption.
The story revolves around Billy Flynn, a married pharmaceutical sales rep, who visits Louisiana on business. He is invited by Dr. Alexander for his New Year’s Eve party and Flynn easily slips into a night of treason, sex, alcohol and corruption. The next day he suffers what looks like a heart attack during his course back home. At the hospital, an expert tells him is has been poisoned and has merely one day left to live.
At this moment you discover the premise to be attractive and you want to be boiling up with adrenaline but unfortunately, Collins can’t seem to deliver a convincing performance as Billy Flynn and we drown in fatigue after that point.
There’s a positive side to all of this and that is the additional characters presented throughout the film. Jessie is a huge part on that remark. Played beautifully by Christa B. Allen, Jessie is charismatic yet the typical female role in these type of thrillers but Christa fulfills the role as a pro and bears an excellent performance overall.
As the film keeps progressing, you will notice yourself observing a bunch of varied character’s arcs come to life and ignore the vital element of the story which is the discovery of Flynn’s « murderer ». That was disappointing to say the least. I wasn’t invested as I loved to. Visually the film looks precise, brilliant, with astonishing camera shots and music, but the fundamental reason that it doesn’t work is the tedious performance of its lead and how the subplots become more charming than the main narrative.
As a powerful crime thriller, Dead On Arrival definitely works. As a splendid tale of survival and own discovery, you might be a little dissatisfied. Despite its weaknesses on how the story is produced, the additional characters, the fun dialogue and its twists and turns will keep you invested enough to watch until the final credits.