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Horror Review: VFX Artist Torey Haas Makes His Directorial Debut With “The Neon Dead”

Just in time for the spookiest of seasons, Steve Johnson takes a look at Wild Eye Releasing’s “The Neon Dead.” This colorful zombie film is written and directed by VFX artist Torey Haas and stars Marie Baker.

'The Neon Dead'
‘The Neon Dead’

REVIEW: Well I’m back and yes, we are one week closer to the Halloween season. The decorating and pumpkin beer intake I talked about in my previous review is definitely in full effect around these parts. But enough about my habits, let’s talk about Wild Eye Releasing’s “The Neon Dead.”

Written and directed by Torey Haas, “The Neon Dead” begins with recent college graduate Allison Hillstead inheriting a house in the countryside. While prepping for a job interview, Allison discovers her charming new home harbors one of the undead. Thanks to a visit from a local girl scout, Allison reaches out to two local paranormal investigators to help rid her home of the zombie pest. When Desmond and Jake arrive, the laughs and the action pick up. The group quickly discovers they are not just dealing with one zombie, but a horde of them led by their smiling king.

Although this is a low budget affair, “The Neon Dead” is a good time and the actors do a great job with the limited dialogue available. I enjoyed Marie Baker’s portrayal of Allison and would love to see her get more work. She would make a great final girl and reminds me a great deal of Amy Steel. Greg Garrison and D. Dylan Schettina do a good job with the characters of Desmond and Jake. Schettina’s Jake is the most enjoyable character in the film, but his screen time is limited due to unfortunate events that take place in the film. All in all this is a good effort by all of the actors in the film.

“The Neon Dead” is shot very well for a low budget indie horror film. The film’s visuals are the best part of it. Torey Haas’ background in visual effects is on full display here. The choice of using bright neon coloring on the zombies is a fantastic touch. I give him all the credit in the world for presenting something audiences haven’t seen before. I also have to give Haas credit for utilizing practical effects throughout the film. We don’t see that too much these days.

THE VERDICT: Is “The Neon Dead” the best zombie movie you will see? No it’s not, but it’s damn fun at times. The visuals are spectacular and are the reason you should check it out. If you temper your expectations, I think you will walk away from “The Neon Dead” satisfied.

“The Neon Dead” is available on DVD and Digital HD from Wild Eye Releasing.