The arrival of Dead Rush’s world premiere at this year’s Canadian Film Fest came at a coincidental time. On April 8, Ilya Naishuller’s Hardcore Henry hits theatres. Both films are very good genre flicks that position the viewer in the lead character’s perspective. As far as which film has a cleaner landing though, Dead Rush has the edge.
Zach Ramelan’s horror has the viewer recognize the emotions one might theoretically encounter during a deadly, mass outbreak. Movie goers witness everything first-hand with the film’s lead character David (played by David Michael Moote). David feels the highs of perfection with his wife Meg (played by co-writer/co-producer Raven Cousens), and hits critical lows when the infected take over. When David isn’t running for his life, his feelings of mourning, sympathy, and dependancy are all portrayed through intimate discussions with other survivors or through internal flashbacks.
The filmmaker’s spiritual representation of this brand of horror also counteracts with a religious movement David is saved by. However, the creature scares are merged with uneasy cult vibes as David learns more about the sanctuary’s “leader”. Everything Ramelan pitches towards the audience works, and doesn’t feel as if he’s making two separate movies.
There are also clever directorial choices regarding how the audience can catch a glimpse of the character their inhabiting, as well as how other perspectives tie into the story. The screenplay (also written by Ramelan and The Scarehouse’s Gavin Michael Booth) keeps exposition light and focuses mainly on the aforementioned thought-processing. This is a surefire sign that Ramelan has more success with character studies than with sinister plots (Late Night Double Feature).
The movie may be unintentionally competing with Hardcore Henry, but Dead Rush certainly stands on its own.