Adam Bartlett and his company, Gilead Media have been unearthing some of underground metal's best bands and bringing them to the masses in splendid vinyl glory for a while now. As if we weren't blessed enough by the fruits of his labour, 2012 saw the release of the movie Dead Weight. Bartlett and Gilead teamed up with John Pata and Head Trauma Productions for this atypical take on both the love story and horror genres.
The story begins with the main character, Charlie (Joe Belknap) being separated from his beautiful and charming girlfriend Samantha (Mary Lindberg) during an apocalyptic outbreak. The film follows Charlie as he struggles to find her again at any cost. He does not partake in his journey alone. He is joined by other survivors in the quest for survival. But Charlie has more than survival on his mind. Survival is merely a means to an end. His goal is singular. Find Samantha. No matter what.
What makes the film atypical from the horror stand point is that while there is a "virus" and "infected", we don't see them but for the briefest of moments. No, the horror depicted in Dead Weight is humanity on both the micro- and macrocosmic scale. (Not to say there isn't a fair share of blood.) Self-preservation and self-satisfaction dominate the individual and collective psyche. In either case, sacrifice may be necessary for the attainment of the ultimate goal. Despite being apart the majority of the the film, flashbacks provide insight into Charlie and Samantha's somewhat tumultuous relationship. Through this the viewer can connect with Charlie, admire his determination, root for him. Knowing that although they didn't have the perfect relationship, he would do anything and everything to get back to her. Love is a powerful driver.
Without giving too much away, Dead Weight is a starkly character driven film with an anything but straightforward plot. The bleak atmosphere created in the post-apocalyptic landscape mirrors the emptiness of a lonely heart. Dead Weight is a heartbreaking story compelling the viewer towards introspection. How far would you go if faced with a similar fate? Would you be the one carrying dead weight?