Film review: Dead has great performances and a cracking script

What a bumper crop of Kiwi filmmaking in local cinemas right now.

Adding to the #supportlocal viewing opportunities is a micro-budget comedy called Dead.

With a tagline that says "a buddy murder mystery with ghosts" and starring one of our funniest Kiwis Tom Sainsbury in the lead role, I was kinda on-board Dead from the get-go. I was not disappointed.

Director Hayden J Weal co-wrote the film with Sainsbury and they also star opposite each other. Sainsbury is a Whoopi-Goldberg-esque ghost-talker called Marbles who can talk to the dead and Weal is a recently dead cop using Marbles to help him solve a murder. 

So yeah, pretty much Ghost, except Marbles is a total stoner. And there's no Unchained Melody pottery scene. Sorry.

There are quite a few dead people as it turns out, and quite the mystery around why they're dead. But Marbles is on the case and if he doesn't lose his in the process, who knows what's in store for him.

Shot for the same amount of money that The Rock spends on a manicure, this teeny-weeny ghosts and ghouls story uses all the tricks of the filmmaker's trade to make this heart-warming and very entertaining film look and feel great. It's helped by a tight simple premise, great performances and a cracking script.

With the added bonus of two of the best on-screen pashes in recent memory and watching Sainsbury proper nail his first lead feature role, it's hats off to the lot of them.

Dead was, in fact, full of life, and death and was an unexpected delight. 

Four stars.