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Dead review – stoner serial-killer comedy runs out of puff

A ghost cop pursues the man who murdered him in a well-meaning spoof that trips itself up in the final act

The ghost of a cop refuses to pass to the other side until he catches the serial killer responsible for his murder in this cheerfully silly low-budget comedy horror from New Zealand. It doesn’t quite pull it off as a spoofy send-up – there are too few laughs and no scares. But director Hayden J Weal (he was Martin Freeman’s body double in all three Hobbit films) gives a well-tuned comic performance as the policeman, appearing at first glance to be standard-issue ramrod cop but actually more interesting and far sweeter.

Weal plays officer Jason Tagg, who was stabbed to death in the line of duty while giving chase to a hoodie-wearing masked serial killer – he is victim No 7. While jumping over a fence in pursuit, Tagg’s police-issue trousers were ripped clean off. So in death he walks around wearing pink underpants. His only hope of bringing his killer to justice is a clueless stoner called Marbles (Thomas Sainsbury), who has accidentally discovered a way to see ghosts: his technique involves injecting himself with a cocktail of neurological medication and marijuana.

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