Saturday , January 28 2023

Blu-ray Review: ‘The Minute You Wake Up Dead’ Starring Morgan Freeman

The funniest gag in the uneven Mike Myers’ comedy The Love Guru involved a voiceover recorder that allows the user to manipulate the pitch of their voice. Amid the various sonic enhancements is a setting simply called “Morgan Freeman.” New to Blu-ray from Lionsgate, The Minute You Wake Up Dead apparently had access to that machine.

Freeman’s is the first voice we hear, reading lines in his familiar, somber baritone. Luckily for writer-director Michael Mailer (mainly an actor throughout his career, and also the son of Norman Mailer), the producers were fortunate enough to slip Freeman into a few scenes as Sheriff Thurmond Fowler. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be too much to recommend about this confusingly-plotted thriller.

Yellowstone fans take note, Cole Hauser stars as investment broker (or something like that) Russ Potter. He’s hated by all the folks in his small town after apparently steering them wrong with bad financial advice. Despite his status as persona non grata, Russ hangs around to be with waitress Delaine (Jaimie Alexander, Lady Sif in the Thor movies and various MCU TV shows). Things get complicated when Delaine’s father is murdered during a home invasion. Russ begins receiving anonymous phones calls. The same creepy voice keeps asking, “Where will you be when you wake up dead?”

There’s actually some campy fun to be had watching the supporting cast overact, sometimes quite aggressively. Chief among them is Darren Mann as Lucius, a tough guy working in an undisclosed capacity with Delaine. Lucius is a hothead and Mann plays him as if he just stepped off the set of a Troma movie. Local criminal Jody is played with similar overbaked passion by Tony DeMil. The plotting is convoluted, but at least Mailer (with co-writer Timothy Holland) makes some effort to lace plot twists throughout.

Morgan Freeman recently lent his talents to another Lionsgate release, Paradise Highway. The only difference between his character (and performance) is a uniform change. Instead of a small-town sheriff, he’s a federal agent in that one. The bigger difference is that Paradise Highway boasts a clearly told, compelling story and is led by lead actors who have invested deeply in their roles. Opt for that one instead of The Minute You Wake Up Dead.

About The Other Chad

An old co-worker of mine thought my name was Chad. Since we had two Chads working there at the time, I was "The Other Chad."