Dead Like Me: Life After Death Stephen Herek

Dead Like Me: Life After Death Stephen Herek
For a couple of years, fans have heard rumblings about the possibility of a Dead Like Me movie emerging after the series was unexpectedly cancelled following two seasons. Grainy trailers appeared online with a new Daisy and a grown up Reggie, solidifying the existence of the film, but months passed without a murmur of when it might see the light of day. Now that the movie has arrived in DVD form, fans can finally find closure with the Lass family, albeit in an unexpected, profoundly depressing and strangely disappointing way. While the series carried a carnival-esque tone, irreverently matching the comic and profound with the same turn of phrase and a distinctive aesthetic, the film drops this entirely, adopting a contemplative style that director Stephen Herek rightfully compares to American Beauty. The problem with this newfound motif is that it doesn't match the comic sensibilities of the series, making the reaper high jinks seem silly and illogical, as many of the subtleties of phrase are buried under lingering shots of reflection. Exacerbating this issue is a generalized betrayal to Roxy's character and the fact that Sarah Wynter (the actress who replaced Laura Harris for the film) is horribly miscast, damaging every scene she is in. On the other hand, the overall message of starting a new chapter in life following tragedy, and finding some purpose in a world where only death is certain, proves moving, as George, Reggie and Joy finally find some sort of peace. The film jumps in five years after George's (Ellen Muth) death, as she, Roxy (Jasmine Guy), Daisy (Sarah Wynter) and Mason (Callum Blue) learn that Rube has found his lights, leaving them with a new boss named Cameron Kane (Henry Ian Cusick). Replacing post-it notes with blackberries and taking a more anarchic approach to reaping, Cameron shakes up the gang's soul-taking routine by deliberately defying the rules of death. Meanwhile, Reggie (an extremely talented Britt McKillip) copes with the impending death of a boy who kept his affections secret and Joy (Cynthia Stevenson) supports a book she penned on coping with loss. The DVD includes a brief "making of" featurette and a commentary track with Ellen Muth and Stephen Herek, which comments on the change in tone and recasting of parts, as well as the "on set" dynamics and series reflections. (MGM)