By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Writer Billy Chew and director Daniel Scheinert take a relatively simple, but disturbing true story and spin it into a suspenseful and intguing yarn that is certain to shock and awe. Normally, I would reveal the true events that inspired this feature film, but to do so would be to reveal too much. In addition to the drama and tension, Chew and Scheinert have flavored their movie with plenty of dark humor, making what should be an absurd story, an all the more entertaining experience.

Dick Long (Scheinert) and his buddies Zeke (Michael Abbott, Jr.) and Earl (Andre Hyland) start their wild night with a fun, but mostly uneventful band practice. After the rock group finishes rehearsing, the three guys continue drinking and playing with fireworks until the early hours of the next morning. Things, however, take a turn for the bizarre and Dick ends up dead before the sun rises. Only Zeke and Earl know what really happened and they desperately do everything within their abilities and limited wits to cover up Dick’s untimely demise.

Though this movie does not fall into the horror or science fiction categories of Fantastic Fest, its use of dark humor and the bizarre truth behind these events very much make this a proper Fest entry. Chew and Scheinert do an awesome job of building tension and suspense and as their plot unravels, one can only marvel at its craziness. Stellar performances by Michael Abbott, Jr., Virginia Newcomb, Andre Hyland, and Jeiss Weixler truly enrich this movie and add to illusion of reality. It is definitely a film not everyone will like, but certainly one that Fantastic Fest attendees can appreciate. The Death of Dick Long is currently playing in Austin and theaters in other cities.

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