A lot of families have problems with boundaries. It’s the source of a lot of therapy sessions. However, most of the time, the family drama doesn’t reach the ridiculous, gross, unbelievable heights that it does in the film Dead Dicks.
Richie (Heston Horwin) is a depressed man in his twenties. He lives on his own, but his sister Becca (Jillian Harris) lives and works nearby. Despite being his younger sister, she’s the one who has to clean up his messes and rescue him from his self-destruction. One night, while Becca is at work as a bartender, she receives multiple panicked calls from Richie. She leaves work, intending to only be gone for a half-hour or so, but she gets sucked into Richie’s biggest interpersonal drama yet.
Richie answers the door, naked, which is enough to freak out your sister, but things only get weirder from there. Richie, who has always been suicidal, has finally done it. He killed himself in his apartment, but he survived… more than once. Each time he kills himself, a duplicate of him is “birthed” from a strangely vaginal hole in the wall of his bedroom. The only thing is that the bodies of the old Richies stick around.
“Each time he kills himself, a duplicate of him is ‘birthed’ from a strangely vaginal hole in the wall…”
Becca is naturally shocked but goes into a crisis-management mode and helps Richie cut up the bodies. One of the copies self-suffocated with a plastic grocery bag, another was hanged in a closet, another Richie was electrocuted in a bathtub, and the final was poisoned. Richie is too freaked out to dispose of his own bodies, so Becca cuts them up with a saw from their father’s old toolbox. Meanwhile, the downstairs neighbor, Matt (Matt Keyes), continuously complains about the noise and becomes an ever-increasing problem for the brother-sister duo who needs to figure out what the hell is going on.
Dead Dicks, while having a completely outrageous premise, is actually a poignant statement about mental illness. Whether it’s suffering with it oneself or being there for someone who is. While it seems that suicide is a bit of a joke in the film, it does touch on the finer, sadder points of such a tragic action. It’s impressive that Dead Dicks, with its ridiculous title and even more outlandish premise, can manage to make such a sensitive statement about such a delicate subject. Also, while one might expect this film to be a gross-out extravaganza, there is a lot of implied gore and violence, but very little is actually seen on-screen.
Chris Bavota and Lee Paula Springer wrote, directed, and produced a genre-defying piece of art that will undoubtedly stick with the viewer after watching. The production design, particularly of Richie’s apartment, by Mark J. Pragai, really takes us into the mind of a mentally ill person. The writing is some of the most wholly unique for a film, independent or studio I have encountered in a long time. Overall, I’m very impressed with Bavota and Springer’s Dead Dicks. If you can look past all the insanity, you will find a really poignant statement in there somewhere. It doesn’t happen all the time, so check out Dead Dicks for something truly rare and original.
"…while having a completely outrageous premise, [it's] actually a poignant statement about mental illness."