THE CIVIL DEAD (2022) Review by Steve Kirkham



3 stars
Bulldog Film Distribution. Select cinemas and on demand 19th January 2024

Sadly THE CIVIL DEAD isn’t a movie about a zombie uprising during the American Civil War but rather a slacker comedy with an interesting central premise along the “I see dead people” lines, which doesn’t do much with this conceit and goes nowhere fast, though it is fitfully funny along the way.

Clay (played by director and co-writer Clay Tatum) is an LA based, out of work photographer, who is not doing much to improve his situation – barring, bizarrely, cutting his own hair into a terrible look! His main claim to fame is knowing (does he really?) comedy actor Andy Samberg – who could potentially get him work as set photographer. But Clay would rather laze around.

When his wife goes away for a few days on a job she implores him to do something, anything, to further his career rather than just crack open a beer and do nothing in the living room. Of course, as soon as she has gone he does just that!

When he eventually hauls himself outside, to take some shots for a possible book project, he bumps into Whit, an old friend, who is desperate to hang out – despite the fact they haven’t seen each other for years. Then Clay learns that Whit is actually a ghost – and he is the only one who can see him.

Before long, instead of investigating crime a la Randall & Hopkirk (which would have been way more captivating), Clay finds he can’t get rid of his new, very needy, companion.

And that is pretty much it – whilst the relationship between the duo is well realised (thanks to the fact they are friends in real life) this just meanders along telling a shaggy dog story which isn’t half as clever or as funny as the filmmakers think is.

Steve Kirkham