The Locals (Dead People) (2003) Horror Movie Review


“The Locals” (2003), also known as “Dead People,” is a New Zealand horror film that takes viewers on a suspenseful journey through the eerie and mysterious. Directed by Greg Page, the movie follows two friends, Grant and Paul, who find themselves in a small town with a dark secret. The film blends elements of mystery and thriller genres, creating an atmosphere that is both unsettling and captivating.

The story begins with Grant and Paul seeking a weekend adventure, only to stumble upon a party in a remote location. Their encounter with two women leads them to a town that is anything but ordinary. The residents are peculiar, and as the night unfolds, the friends realize that they are caught in a situation far beyond their understanding.

“The Locals” excels in building tension and a sense of foreboding. The New Zealand backdrop provides a beautiful contrast to the film’s darker themes, with the daylight’s scenic beauty giving way to a night filled with shadows and uncertainty. The lighting plays a crucial role in this transformation, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere that enhances the horror elements.

The performances by John Barker as Grant and Dwayne Cameron as Paul anchor the film, providing a relatable entry point for the audience. Their chemistry and the film’s focus on their friendship add a layer of depth to the narrative, making it more than just a typical horror flick. The supporting cast, including Aidee Walker and Kate Elliot, contribute to the film’s eerie vibe, portraying characters that are both intriguing and unsettling.

Critics have noted that “The Locals” is a friendship film dressed in horror’s clothing, a testament to its ability to balance character development with genre conventions. The film has been praised for its originality, especially considering its low budget. It demonstrates that a compelling story and strong characters can resonate with audiences, regardless of the resources available.

However, some reviews suggest that the film could have benefited from more explicit horror elements, such as increased brutality and violence, to match the intensity of its suspenseful moments. Despite this, “The Locals” has garnered a following for its unique approach to the horror genre, showcasing New Zealand’s burgeoning talent in filmmaking.

In the Nutshell

“The Locals” is a film that offers a fresh take on horror, blending friendship, mystery, and the supernatural. Its ability to create a chilling atmosphere with limited resources is a testament to the creativity and skill of the filmmakers. For those seeking a horror movie that deviates from the norm and provides a thought-provoking experience, “The Locals” is a must-watch. I give 4 out of 5 stars. 

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Genre:  Found Footage


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