Dead Like Me: Life After Death


Rating 1½

Directed by Stephen Herek

Written by Stephen Godchaux and John Masius

Starring Ellen Muth (George Lass), Callum Blue (Mason) Jasmin Guy (Roxy Harvey), Sarah Wynter (Daisy Adair), Cynthia Stevenon (Joy Lass), Britt McKillip (Reggie Lass), Christine Willes (Delores Herbig), Crystal Dahl (Crystal) and Henry Ian Cusick (Cameron Kane)

It is five years since George Lass was killed by a toilet seat and became a grim reaper, part of a team of five dealing with deaths caused by murder, accidents and other external forces. Her world is turned upside down once again when the Der Waffle Haus, their regular meeting place, is burned to the ground and Rube Sofer, their leader, disappears. A new reaper, Cameron Kane, a high-flying financier who died in the attack on the World Trade Centre, takes Rube’s place, but his methods lead to chaos. George also commits a cardinal sin when she reveals herself to her still living younger sister Reggie.


‘Dead Like Me’ was a highly regarded television series that ran for two seasons and 29 episodes on the Showtime subscription cable channel between June 2003 and October 2004. Now comes a direct-to-DVD film version, released in February 2009. It was written by Stephen Godchaux and John Masius, the two executive producers and writers who assumed creative control of the show following the early departure of creator Bryan Fuller.

Most of the cast reprise their roles, but there are some notable absentees. Mandy Patinkin, who played Rube Sofer, is not here. Laura Harris, who played Daisy Adair, is also absent. That role is played in the film by Sarah Wynter. Greg Kean, who played George’s father Clancey Lass, is missing, as is Patricia Idlette, who played Kiffany, a waitress at Der Waffle Haus.

The absence of Mandy Patinkin leaves a huge hole that actually becomes part of the plot, as the other reapers try to make sense of the mysterious disappearance of Rube. Laura Harris is also badly missed. Her portrayal of Daisy in the television series is a hard act to follow and Sarah Wynter does not manage it at all, although she is hampered by a very poor script that makes Daisy much more brittle and lacking the pathos of the character played by Harris.

Everything about the film is inferior to the original series, which is perhaps to be expected. What is most noticeable is the poor dialogue, completely lacking the sparkle and wit to be found in the various television episodes. The excellent Cynthia Stevenson is wasted here. There is some novelty value in seeing an older Reggie and the story focuses on her a great deal, but to no particular effect.

All in all, this was very disappointing, although not surprisingly so.

Review posted 13 May 2009


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