Directed by Chris LaMont
Produced by Greg Hall, Linda Hornby, and David Lindmark
Written by Chris LaMont and Greg Hall
Director of Photography - J.D. "Chip" Craig

Jack Grady - Joey Michitsch
Melissa Grady - Candace Rose
Elliot - Jeffrey C. Hawkins

I really didn't want to like this movie at all. It's an "unofficial" sequel to Tim Ritter's TRUTH OR DARE put out by Dead Alive Productions in 1995. The movie is even so bold as to use footage from Ritter's official sequel, WICKED GAMES. The problem is the movie was so engaging that I couldn't not like it.

Jack Grady is a writer who had a bestseller the year before. Now he's overdue turning in his next project. His problem is he has nothing to say, he has writer's block. The quick fame has taken its toll and he's quickly falling back into obscurity while his book is turned into a forgettable grade z horror movie.

While rearranging furniture in his house, Jack finds a sealed off room. In the room is a box filled with Dead Alive video releases and WICKED GAMES. The box also contains a journal kept by Elliot, the teenage son of the family who once lived in the house. Through his journal, Elliot tells how was pushed over the edge by the media and his fondness for the game Truth or Dare. It tells how Elliot tried to push his friends into murder, and when they wouldn't cross the line, he gleefully would. It also tells how he murdered his family at the dinner table one evening as he tried to get them to play the game.

Finding the source for his new book, Jack changes a few names and turns it in as his own. The book is a monster smash. Everyone who reads it, loves it. Everyone except for Elliot, he doesn't take kindly to people passing off his work as their own. He slowly encroaches his way into Jack's life and starts murdering all those who Jack holds dear.

Up unto Elliot's entrance, the film is just above standard in the way it handles the material. Chris LaMont and Greg Hall's script takes a satirical take at the entertainment industry, they hit points that are usually glossed over during most films. In the small pond of successful writers, Jack character isn't just treated as merely the catch of the day, he's a big fish in a small pond …full of sharks. Everyone is trying to cash in on the craze his work has created. The irony is it was never his work to begin with. Jack is just a leach stuck to the rear of the local Great White, Elliot.

Jeffrey C. Hawkins is genuinely frightening as Elliot, he comes across as pure, menacing evil. Jeffrey has found the perfect balance of egocentricism mixed with subtle rage. He walks a fine line, but never goes over the top or ventures into camp, styles all too popular today. I don't know if Jeffrey still acts today, but I would love to see what else he's done. The kid is just that good.

While director LaMont's shooting style is pretty basic, he does manage to pull excellent performances from all of his actors, not just Jeffrey C. Hawkins. Joey Michitsch is convincing as the suffering writer and Candace Rose is perfect as his wife. Both seem comfortable in front of the camera, but reach the level of Hawkins.

Micro-budget productions the caliber of Writer's Block don't come around very often. I wanted to dislike it, but it was so good. I can't lie, it's worth picking up.

Dead Alive