The Dead Center (2019)
In a Nashville morgue, an unnamed man comes back to life and escapes. Sheriff Edward Graham investigates the missing body, but across town, psychiatrist Daniel Forrester checks the now unresponsive man into a ward at the psychiatric hospital. These two strands interweave, as the sheriff investigates the man’s background and life, and the psychiatrist tries to get the man to remember who he is.
I didn’t know anything about this going into it. With older films, when I’m jotting my thoughts down like this, I don’t worry too much about spoilers, but with newer films I’m more cagey. The psychiatric hospital is wonderfully realistic. Apparently, consultant psychiatrists helped ensure the routines, types of patients, and medical processes were accurate, and that comes across. Daniel is one of those potentially cliched trouble doctors who break the rules, but Shane Carruth is a good enough actor to make us believe in him.
It does have a hospital drama vibe in places, but this is a short, sharp film, less than ninety minutes long, and it zips along. By the final third we suspect what’s coming. Nothing is over-explained, which along with the smart camerawork, gives the film a nice feeling of dread, and it nails the dismount.
Letterboxd: The Dead Center (2019), dir. Billy Senese.