DVD Review: DEAD LIKE ME: LIFE AFTER DEATH

MGM/Twentieth Century Fox
Stars: Ellen Muth, Callum Blue, Henry Ian Cusick, Cynthia Stevenson, Sarah Wynter
Written by Stephen Godchaux and John Masius
Director: Stephen Herek
Release date: February 17, 2009
Rated: R
Runtime: 87 minutes

Though I didn’t get to see Dead Like Me in its first run (2003-04 on Showtime), I knew from previews I would like the show’s wry, morbid humor. I’m glad to see the series get the feature film treatment on DVD.

Though series regulars George (Ellen Muth), Roxy (Jasmine Guy), and Mason (Callum Blue) return, Rube (Mandy Patinkin) does not. The writers and director take the opportunity. however, to introduce Cameron Kane (Cusick), a charismatic, liberal alternative to the fatherly Rube. Kane appeals to the Reapers’ desire to do as they please, not be bound by the old rules.

George’s main assignment is to take the soul of high school football hero Hudson Hart, who’s hit by a car, but surprisingly Hudson clings to life, and George has to figure out why. Meanwhile, her fellow Reapers’ assignments also go awry, and they find the old consequences are still in play.

The tone of the movie is somewhat darker and more subtle than the series, appropriate to how the characters are shown to have progressed. For George, it turns out Hudson secretly romanced her younger sister Reggie. This provides George with the opportunity to interact extensively with Reggie, and give their storylines closure.

Dead Like Me: Life After Death is a lovingly-made sequel that should please fans and may win new ones.

–Gerald So