The Dead Will Tell


Rating 2½

Directed by Stephen T Kay

Written by Nancy Fichman, Jennifer Hoppe and Mark Kruger

Starring Anne Heche, Jonathan LaPaglia, Chris Sarandon, Kathleen Quinlan, David Andrews, Eva Longoria, Kate Jennings Grant, Gary Grubbs and Leigh Jones

Set in New Orleans, Emily Parker (Anne Heche, also one of the film’s producers) meets Billy Hytner (Jonathan LaPaglia) and they soon become engaged. Billy buys her an unusual antique engagement ring; a ring her friend Jeanie (Eva Longoria) claims gives off a bad vibe. Emily begins to have visions of a ghostly female figure and learns that the ring had once belonged to Marie Salinger (Leigh Jones), a young woman who disappeared years earlier. Marie’s finance Paul Hamlin (Chris Sarandon) was suspected of murdering her, but apart from her severed engagement ring finger, her body was never found.


This 2004 made-for-television film follows an immediately recognisable tried and tested formula. It resembles Sam Raimi’s infinitely superior ‘The Gift’, a film that was co-written by Billy Bob Thornton. However, unlike Cate Blanchett’s character in that film, Emily Parker does not possess previously identified psychic abilities.

The film suffers from some very irritating editing, for which the director Stephen T Kay must take responsibility. However, it has a decent cast and taken for what it is, it is perfectly watchable, if derivative and ultimately rather run of the mill. I would happily watch it again.

Kay had previously directed the horrendously misguided remake of ‘Get Carter’ and went on to make ‘Boogeyman’, a low-budget horror for Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures production company.

‘The Dead Will Tell’ is based on an alleged true story told by the medium James Van Praagh, who is also one of the executive producers. Praagh is a co-executive producer of the successful CBS network television series ‘Ghost Whisperer’, which is now in its fourth season and attracts up to ten million viewers a week.

Review posted 21 February 2009


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