CUFF 2020 Review: Dead Dicks underserves novel premise and talented cast with stillborn script

That’s the trouble with these mysterious clone-wombs appearing on people’s bedroom walls – they keep spitting out exact copies of you whenever you try to kill yourself. 

At least, that’s the problem as Richie (Heston Horwin) sees it. He’s got mental-health issues, a giant magical vagina on his wall, and now, four dead clones of himself stinking up his apartment. Each of his suicide attempts seem to work — there’s a dead body and everything — but then a brand new Richie just pops out of the gross hole in the wall (when did that thing show up, anyway?), and needs fresh clothes and a snack. (Death gives you the munchies something fierce.) 

Cue the arrival of Becca (Jillian Harris), Richie’s devoted and long-suffering sister. How will a nice, normal person react to this bizarre occurrence?

That’s a good question, and the movie kind of drops the ball with it. Richie’s the mentally unbalanced weirdo with the immortality curse, which means that we need Becca to be the normal one who behaves in a way we can understand. And indeed, this character is sweet, thoughtful, well-acted by Harris, and pretty much precisely the audience surrogate character we’re looking for. Which is why it’s such a shame that the movie has her decide that calling 911 and explaining the situation to the police and the paramedics is too difficult, and that she’d rather help chop up four bodies and throw them in the dumpster. 


C’mon, Dead Dicks, you’ve given us two Ricks, when we needed a Morty!

The role of the sensible character winds up going to the grouchy neighbour downstairs (Matt Keyes), but we’re supposed to hate him. (Although his character does grow to be more interesting as the film progresses.)

The weird premise at least gives Canadian filmmaking team Chris Bavota and Lee Paula Springer the opportunity to explore a bizarre story scenario that requires very little budget (mostly one set, mostly three actors, brief special effects, all paying off with a truly mind-stretching situation), but it’s hard not to feel disappointed by Dead Dicks. The script seems torn between gruesome dark comedy and soul-searching monologues, and the two moods don’t blend well at all. Plus, the “character development” scenes tend to focus on childhood memories, rather than the trauma of discovering your brother’s corpse, which probably should have had more of an influence on Becca‘s mental state. I’m pleased that creative new ideas are getting made into films, but so much better could have been done with this novel premise and talented cast. 

Dead Dicks is available for screening as part of the Calgary Underground Film Festival until June 28. To screen go to

John Tebbutt is the Video Vulture. He has been writing about obscure and ridiculous cinema since 1997. You can keep up with his nonsense on his website, Facebook, Twitter and through episodes of a program he’s doing with NUTV.