While I’m not afraid of hospitals or doctors, I can understand why some people are. You always hear about people who go in for routine surgery and get things left in them, or they get the wrong leg removed or some other horrific thing happens to you in the doctor’s care. Just think though, it could be worse. You could be committed to a psychological hospital against your will, and have no idea when you’re getting out. On top of that, you could then get operated on by a crazy psychology surgeon (I didn’t even know they had surgeons in psychiatric hospitals) who’s obsessed with digging people’s brains out to see what makes them crazy. I would have thought that would be an indication that you were in fact crazy yourself, but I’m not a professional.
The Dead Pit starts 20 years in the past where Dr. Colin Ramzi (Danny Gochnauer) is that crazed surgeon who is determined to remove the parts of the mind that cause insanity, but unfortunately he’s killing patients to find out if his theories are correct. As you can imagine, that’s not really accepted at the hospital, and when his colleague Dr. Gerald Swan (Jeremy Slate) finds out about his murderous ways, he puts a bullet in his head and seals off his tomb, or “dead pit” and thinks that he’ll never have to deal with Ramzi again. That is of course, until the arrival 20 years later of Jane Doe.
Jane Doe is found on the streets without ID and without a memory, so it’s obvious that she’s admitted to an insane asylum. The moment she gets to the hospital, an earthquake hits and unseals the tomb that Dr. Ramzi and his many patients were kept. He begins stalking the halls at night for more victims, but it seems that only Jane can see him even though new patients and employees are disappearing nightly. When Ramzi finally gets his hands on Jane, he takes her to his tomb and starts a dark ritual that wakes his zombie servants, and it’s time to make all the patients, employees and especially Dr. Swan pay.
What starts out as a pretty boring psychological thriller ends up being a decent zombie flick, it’s too bad that I had to slog through the first 45 minutes of watching a guy in scrubs slowly plod after Jane while she wears a cut off t-shirt. I usually wouldn’t complain about that but she’s not really hot enough to pull it off and her acting is serviceable at best. Thankfully after putting up with the bad suspense, the movie pulls a bit of a 180 after Jane’s captured by Ramzi. Once his zombie army makes their appearance, The Dead Pit actually starts to get pretty damned enjoyable, even if one of the main characters uses a crossbar from his bed frame as a weapon for most of the film and beats on zombies rather than the traditional removal of the brain from the body. Thanks to the zombies, the real suspense kicks in.
Along with the change of pace, we also start reaping the reward of some great quotes and special effects. I actually laughed out loud when I heard “For dead people, they sure are smart” after the zombies decided to tear out the distributors from all the cars at the hospital so no one could drive away. Along with a few brains getting peeled out of some cops heads, we also see some “Raiders of the Lost Ark” style melting when a institutionalized nun flicks holy water on some of the zombies causing their flesh and bones to actually melt, resulting in some pretty impressive effects. To top it all off, the finale is a great but hilarious lesson in filming miniatures, along with another impressive melting.
While the acting isn’t great, and you get to hear recycled screams while there are shots in the hospital, special effects and zombies take up the slack. If you don’t mind putting up with a boring thriller to get to the good parts, it’s definitely worth the ride. By the time you get to the end, you’ll probably be able to guess the huge twist. The Dead Pit earns 3 out of 5 peeled skulls thanks to the zombie filled second half.