Dead on Appraisal (2014) Review

Dead on Appraisal poster

A real estate agent relays his house selling troubles to his wife in the form of a series of absurd tales of previous tenants and owners in this puppet-packed anthology. The first story shows a party with one of the occupants busy at work on some half-brain, half-cocoon organism, and then the chaotic morning that follows. There’s gore, guns, grenades, and some very gruesome bonding. Next up is a son back from the war in Iraq, and his father’s attempt to help him reattain some sort of normalcy. Unfortunately, he may already be too far gone. Then the third and final story (aside from the framing story) shows a band that just aren’t what they once were, oh and a poker game with goblins. With all of that and more, DEAD ON APPRAISAL amounts to one hell of a ridiculously entertaining watch.

David Sherbrook, Sean Canfield, and Scott Dawson wrote and directed the individual stories, and as a trio are responsible for the framing story. The originality and inventiveness of the film is staggering, and from a group of young directors that are (hopefully) just getting started. This movie is a case in point example of the fact that the indie horror scene with severely limited budgets are still coming up with far more original ideas than mainstream big-budget Hollywood has in years.

The effects, though cheesy, really make DEAD ON APPRAISAL what it is, a throwback to the puppetry of classic Full Moon films and the over-the-top gore of Troma. There’s plenty of blood and all kinds of nasty neon goo, plus a variety of monsters somewhere between your worst nightmares and The Muppets (assuming those aren’t one and the same).

Between the gore and monsters, there are some hilarious interactions, funny dialogue, and general ridiculousness. After all, who among us has never wanted to fight a one-eyed, two-tentacled horse man. It’s the little things, you know?

Dead on Appraisal 4 - Cocoon

One of the few issues I had with this film was the choice of music in certain areas. Rather than just allowing the over-the-top events of the film to provide comedy, at times there was an attempt to force a comedic feel with some goofy music that really clashed with the tone of the movie itself. It’s a minor gripe, but some more appropriate music would have strengthened this one on the whole.

Other than that minor problem, this is really a hidden gem of indie horror comedy and for those of us that have any form of nostalgia for the goofy range of Full Moon films from the 90’s, and of course Troma lovers, this is a must-see. So in short, if you enjoy cheesy creature effects and gore-laden monster-ridden funhouse style films, DEAD ON APPRAISAL should shoot right to the top of your watchlist. I hope we see more craziness from these directors in the near future.

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