Based on the comic book by Josh Howard, Mark Steensland’s adaptation of “Dead@17” is a great short that really registered, even if I’ve never read the comic before. I know, it’s a shocker considering I try to grab every horror comic out there, but “Dead@17” is a series I’ve heard about in passing, but never actively sought it out. And thanks to Steensland, that’s all about to change. Steensland depicts a rather interesting world on film, with a short that signals the start of something much bigger afoot.
Hazy’s boyfriend just broke up with her and her friend Nara attempts to console her; and as the two part Nara is sadly murdered by a masked man in her house. After stumbling onto her diary, Hazy now has to wonder what Nara was involved with before she died. Steensland manages to provoke interesting cult flavor to this which will surely guarantee not only a new following to the comic book, but a great following to the actual movie, as he draws a murky and rather eerie world where everything is not as it seems.
Even the viewer will be able to notice that not everything is as it seems in this world that surrounds these two characters. All of which is capped off by a great climax where Hazy gets the full weight of the world she Nara was involved in, and is saved by none other than Nara who alerts her that there is a battle a foot involving zombies, witchcraft, and serial killers, and they have to get on it. I guess this would be the point once the film ends where we’re urged to read the comics, and I intend to catch up very soon.
But for what Steensland attempts, he accomplishes a very good horror atmosphere, with good performances by Jessica Ciccone, and Katelyn Gracy who is almost the spitting image of Nara Kilday. I hope Cassie Hack gets this much justice. It’s now getting a festival run, but seek it out when and where ever you can, because “Dead@17” is an entertaining short preamble to a wider mythos apparently unfolded by Josh Howard and his series of graphic novels.