"DEAD LIKE ME: LIFE AFTER DEATH"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Ellen Muth as GEORGE LASS
Callum Blue as MASON
Sarah Wynter as DAISY ADAIR
Jasmine Guy as ROXY HARVEY
Britt McKillip as REGGIE LASS
Christine Willes as DELORES HERBIG
Cynthia Stevenson as JOY LASS
Henry Ian Cusick as CAMERON KANE
Directed by: Stephen Herek
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We visit the grim reapers from the short-lived Showtime series “Dead Like Me” four years after we last left them. Der Waffle Haus has burned down, and Rube has reaped his last and gone into the light. Their new boss is Cameron Kane (Henry Ian Cusick), a daytrader who was killed in 9/11. Kane tries to upgrade the reapers into the digital age, and he doesn’t frown on interfering with the living as Rube has. When the reapers start to get too out of control, they take matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, George finally manages to connect with her sister Reggie so long after her death.
WHAT I LIKED
The most obvious plus of this film is that we finally get a chance to visit with our beloved reapers again. “Dead Like Me: Life After Death” offers a chance to tie up some loose ends and gives us an opportunity to enjoy the characters again. So, it was great to see so many of the cast returning – from Ellen Muth in the pivotal lead role to the weird underlings like Crystal from Happy Time temporary services.
And while I’m not thrilled that Mandy Patinkin didn’t return as Rube, it makes sense in the flow of the series. Rube had been around for a long while, and it was time he got his lights. This was critical to the story, and it made sense.
Throughout the series, I was wondering when George was going to connect with Reggie, and it was nice to see that finally happen. Of course, the results were to be expected and fit the characters profiles very well.
Hopefully this direct-to-DVD shot does well enough for the studio to venture out into the afterlife again to make another installment.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
While I accepted Rube’s departure, I was not wild about the recasting of Daisy Adair. When Laura Harris first showed up as the Southern belle in the series, she rubbed me the wrong way. But once she settled into her character, she gave us some depth. By recasting her with Sarah Wynter, we came crashing back to the beginning of the character. There was no longer depth, and I don’t think either Wynter or director Stephen Herek really understood her nuances.
The only other gripe I have with this movie is that it didn’t clear up certain things that were left hanging from the series. In the special features, Ellen Muth states that this was not meant to be a wrap-up movie, and I wasn’t necessarily expecting this. However, they could have at least mentioned certain things, like the fate of Betty Rhomer and a little more about the creation of the Gravelings.
Or perhaps that is what we have in store for us if they make another direct-to-DVD film of the series.
The DVD comes with an audio commentary by Stephen Herek and Ellen Muth, along with the featurette “Back from the Dead: Resurrecting Dead Like Me.”
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
“Dead Like Me” fans and anyone who can chuckle at death.