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Never disturb the Dead.
Cast | Formats | Notes | Pictures | Official Summary | My Summary | My Review | Taglines
|Rupert King||Malcolm McDowell|
|Sgt. Melissa O' Keefe||Talisa Soto|
|Tony Matos||Bruce Ramsey|
|James Neely||Kent McQuaid|
|Robbie J||Mos Def|
|Rodger Mackloe||Paul Hopkins|
|Dwight Truman||Tyrone Benskin|
|Captain Charon||Michel Perron|
|French Reporter||Steffen Wink|
|City Mortician||Richard Jutras|
|Squeegee Man||Philip LeMaistre|
|Inmate #1||Andrew Bradshaw|
|Crewman #1||Robert Daviau|
|Talisa's Stand-In||Andreé Fafard|
|Malcolm's Stand-In||Charlie Radford|
Directed by Tim Southam
Written by Peter Koper
VHS - NTSC / DVD R1 - released in 2001 + 2002
DVD has no extras, not even menus, chapters, search - nothing!
Filmed on location in Montreal Quebec, not on Hart Island NY.
Direct to video release in the US, but did play at some international film festivals.
91 minutes, unrated
Filmed in Dolby Surround
Distributed by City Heat Productions on VHS, Key Video on DVD
Song "Paying the Rent" by Shades of Culture
Malcolm's screen credit
Rupert in the Limo
Malcolm in the make up chair - before and after
WTC from intro of the film
DVD Cover - Front
DVD Cover - Back
DVD Cover - Garden of Evil (Same Image)
Video Sell Sheet
It's a case of supernatural larval horror when a billionaire developer (Malcolm) and his guests visit New York's Hart Island and find themselves set upon by a swarm of killer flies! The teensy parasitic nasties have a taste for human blood, and there's no flyswatter in sight - soon it's down to a battle of wits between the hapless folks and the deadly insect menace.
The film takes place on Hart Island in New
York which is a real place. It is inhabited by more than 1 million people, but no one lives there.
Since 1869 the unknown dead from the city have been buried there in mass graves.
Every week dozens more are sent out there. Melissa O' Keefe worked as a cop in the 39th precinct, but now is on missing
persons. She was an orphan in New York, but someone found her. It is important
to her to help find other lost people and put names to the faces. Three girls
were playing jump rope one day and were killed, but only two were found. She is
searching for the third. Nothing turns up at the morgue and the attendant there
says her best bet is Hart's Island, a few girls have shipped there recently. She
decides to check it out. On her way out of the morgue she passes two convicts
handcuffed to a slab. They are Neely, who is loaded with tattoos and piercings
and Tony who is more clean cut. Tony knows they are on duty to take bodies over
to the mass graves on Hart's Island, but Neely is new and is flipping out about
having to do the work. Tony doesn't understand why a death metal rocker would be
bothered by real death.
Multi-millionaire developer Rupert King also has his eyes on Hart Island. He plans on building a massive housing project there called Hope City that will house the homeless and downtrodden. He is on his way to the ferry for a groundbreaking ceremony on the island with the mayor. Rodger is his yes man assistant who fields all of Rupert's calls in the limo with him on the way to the ferry. Rupert only takes one call from a woman described as "honey #2".
Rupert and Melissa arrive at the lot for the ferry at the same time. The mayor and reporters are also there as this is the only way to get onto the island. There are so many people and vehicles, including Neely, James and their dump truck full of bodies, that the pilot of the ferry tells Melissa she can't take her car. He also tells her Rupert is probably in it to get a medal, the one thing he doesn't own.
On the ferry Tony runs into Robbie J, a convict friend that he knows who will be helping him out. Robbie is also busting on Neely for his many piercings, asking him if he likes stabbing himself in the face or something. Tony runs into Melissa and is cold to her because he blames the cops for ruining his life and arresting him unjustly. She remembers him from his protests of innocence.
On the island Rupert shows Rodger the main area where they are to build. He has all the information in his laptop which is for his eyes only and Rupert tells him he has to eat the hard drive before he lets it fall into the wrong hands. He sends Rodger off to stake the land while he deals with the press and groundbreaking ceremony. There is one French reporter who is against Rupert and tries to make him look bad in front of everyone. He asks the mayor how he can side with someone who has been indicted six times. Rupert tells him it is a beautiful day and why doesn't he enjoy it? They have their ceremony and the mayor gives a speech and Rupert gives a speech telling them how this new city will provide hope and jobs for those who had none. The reporter asks them what jobs will they have and asks about Rupert's health care holdings. Rupert tells him he has never been in better health. The mayor whispers that he is going to bury the reporter.
Meanwhile the ferry pilot gives Melissa a ride since he will be waiting on shore for the ceremony to end. The convicts head over to the only building in use on the island. It is a base for the those who are on burying detail. Captain Chanon is in charge and meets with Melissa about finding the lost body. They check the records and it seems a likely body has been buried in lot 40. He can't get anyone on it until they bury the new shipment of bodies that have come in. So she is stuck there waiting for hours. Tony gets to show Neely the ropes and when one of the cheap coffins come undone Neely flips out. Meanwhile Rodger is out banging in stake when he hears a loud buzzing sound and something bites him in the neck. When he looks down at where he put the stake he sees maggots coming out of the ground. When he goes back to his laptop it too has maggots on it.
The crew finishes up the work and goes out to lot 40 with Melissa where they do find the girl she was looking for. Tony was one of the diggers and he wonders why she was there as she didn't have to be. He again pleads his innocence to her.
Rupert cannot find Rodger and heads to the building where the cons are cleaning up from the burial detail. He uses the phone there as he left his cell phone in the limo. While waiting Neely tells him he was at one of his casinos and asks him if he is really worth a billion dollars. He tells him that is an exaggeration, but eventually admits he is worth at least half that, but has no idea how much. When the Captain returns Rupert informs him of Rodgers' disappearance. The captain gets in his truck and goes out looking for him. He searches all the roads, but finds no sign of him. He comes back and tells the ferry pilot to take everyone back except for 5 volunteers to stay and look for Rodger. He tells him to return at sunset. Melissa, Rupert, Robbie J, Tony and Neely stay. The captain doesn't want Rupert to stay, but he insists since it is his man who is lost.
They all get in his truck and drive out to the ruins of an old Civil War POW of war camp, the most likely place that Rodger could be. The captain goes to the main building, Rupert and Melissa go to the hospital and the convicts check the fields. Rupert decides it'll go faster if he goes on his own and takes off and Tony feels the same way. Rupert goes through the field and eventually runs into Neely and Robbie. Neely steals Ruperts' watch when he stumbles on a grave and Robbie steals it from him taunting him that he has no use for it because it won't fit through his nose. At first Rupert wants the watch back, but gets tired of their games and leaves, eventually finding the maggot covered laptop. While Robbie is taunting Neely he trips. When he gets up he realizes he has tripped over Rodgers body which has badly decomposed and is full of maggots. Melissa runs into Tony inside and he curses at her because she was part of the precinct that put him away. He was walking down the street when the cops jumped him and beat him up. He shows her the scar on his neck from his two weeks in the hospital..
Everybody is freaked out because there in no way a body can decompose completely in a matter of hours. When the group heads for the truck Robbie is swarmed by a swarm of flies. They all take off and leave him out there to die. Neely is the only one in the back of the truck and he gets bit once. Back at base the captain checks the phone to find it dead. When he checks the circuit box it too is full of maggots. When everyone gets inside he goes off to check on Robbie who is already decomposing. Neely is apologizing for taking Rupert's watch when the captain comes back. It is now night time and the ferry has forgotten them and they have no way to call him. The ferry pilot has been drinking and telling stories when he suddenly remembers to go back and get them While he is on the way he sounds his whistle and the group head to the water. Neely isn't doing too good at this point, so Tony has to practically carry him.
When the pilot has almost reached the island, he starts stuffing his mouth with new chewing tobacco. When he goes to put more in he sees the pouch is full of maggots, soon after the flies have gotten him and the ferry crashes far away from the island. The only thing left is around is a rowboat. It is too late for Neely as he is now covered with a rash. Rupert throws him out of the truck and he soon dies. The captain gets bit next and starts to feel sick when the get back to the base. Tony peeks on Rupert's computer and finds out his real plans for using the city as a way to use the homeless and test out drugs on them. Soon after he dies and the group is now trapped in the office. The main room now houses the captain's body and a few thousand flies hatching from him. After a few minutes the flies stop moving or are dead. Tony decides to go out and bury the captain and wraps him up in Rupert's coat. Rupert tries to cut a deal with Melissa, but she won't go for it and leaves to help Tony. Rupert then finds a gun in the desk drawer. He also finds a lighter and decides to go out and fill up a bucket with gas and burn the place down to kill the flies.
They jump in the truck to head for the rowboat, but the truck is dead and the flies are mad. They set off on foot and Rupert pushes Tony into an empty grave and plans to shoot him, but Melissa pulls her gun on him. During the Mexican standoff the flies catch up with Rupert and finish him off, but Melissa and Tony are able to escape.
Back in New York the next day Melissa in convinced Tony is innocent and has his case reopened. She goes down to the jail as he is released a free man. The End.
For a little while it seemed like this film
and Garden of Evil were the same film because they used the same cover art, but
they aren't - just the same company. There is an added bonus that the VHS has a
trailer for Garden of Evil before the movie stars! The DVD doesn't even have
The film opens with a shot on the water heading toward New York City. This is eerie and cool because it prominently shows the Twin Towers, making this one of the last films ever to show them. Every film that had the WTC coming out after September 11 has them deleted, so for that reason alone this film is noteworthy.
One weird thing is they didn't even film the movie on Hart Island!? Maybe they aren't allowed? Malcolm's role is totally obvious. He is supposed to be Donald Trump, the famous casino owner and millionaire land developer from New York. There is even a sneaky shot at him when Rupert is reading the Daily News the headline says "The Rupert" a reference to "The Donald" as he was sometimes called.
Malcolm digs into the role and plays it perfectly. In his first scene he has no lines. His aide is telling him who is on the phone and he handles it with his eyes and hands only and it is great stuff. There are also two scenes when he meets the mayor and when he goes into the office on the island where there is no dialog except for some hardcore rap blasting on the soundtrack. This is very annoying, I'd rather hear the actors. He gets to play it as the rich bastard and also the desperate man. He isn't just a heartless bastard. Since he doesn't get killed right away we get to see him throughout which is always a plus. He has lots of fun lines and a great scene when he burns the place down. He runs away and laughs with a maniacal laughter with the fire behind him that is perfect.
The scenes of Robbie and Tony making fun of Neely are great. "How do you pick your nose with all that shit in it? What if you get a booger?" Melissa says she wants to be doing what she does and Tony hits her saying she was busted down to that level. This seems true to me, like she has convinced herself this is where she wants to be. All of the other roles are played well.
They don't actually spell out why the killer flies come, but I have a theory. When Rodger is staking out the first area the maggots come out of the ground. It seems they are buried and when anyone disturbs them they attack. This doesn't explain why the flies do not attack when they are burying the bodies in the mass graves. Maybe they feed off the dead? The flies don't come out when they exhume the girl. Are they only in the certain spot where he dug? Why do they attack in the first place. At the end they leave Tony and Melissa alone and only attack Rupert. They claim that the flies only wanted him. Then why didn't they attack him right away instead of killing everyone else? There are a bunch of things that aren't explained like this, but in the end the story works so it isn't a big deal.
Overall I think killer flies are a bit silly since flies aren't killers. Since it is a new idea though, I give them credit. There are a few dopey cliché horror scenes like the captain going out to look for Robbie on foot!? A minute ago he leaves him to die speeding away in the truck, and a few minutes later it is suddenly safe and he WALKS over to the body in the dark. The scene after the captain dies also makes no sense. Tony just HAS to go out and bury him!? All the flies are around, but they don't bother him, this makes no sense. I would have also like to see more of what Rupert was up to with Hope City - they only touch on it briefly. Yes, it is a B-movie, but they know it and don't let it get campy and stupid. They play it serious which is the only way to do it and pull it all off. There is no nudity and gratuitous sex scenes which is also a plus, though some would probably like to see Talia nude. Since she is the only woman in the film and plays a hard ass it wouldn't work. In the end these complaints are minor and it does create suspense and it is a big, bad ass role for Malcolm, so I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
Never disturb the Dead.
If you laugh when a hearse goes by, you will be the next to die.
This format © 2001-08 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net