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Dead Envy Review

August 30, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Dead Envy
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Dead Envy Review  

Dead Envy Review

Harley Di Nardo– David Tangiers
Adam Reeser– Javy Bates
Samantha Smart– Cecily Tangiers
Carla Wynn– Dawn
Joey Medina– Sidney
(check out the rest of the cast here)

Directed by Harley Di Nardo
Screenplay by Harley Di Nardo and Stacy Hullah

Distributed by Random Media

Not Rated
Runtime– 71 minutes


Dead Envy, directed and co-written by Harley Di Nardo (Stacy Hullah shares writing credit), also stars Di Nardo as David Tangiers, a sort of washed up rock musician waiting for his next big chance at stardom. David released an album several years ago that received rave reviews, and he did some sort of worldwide tour that received decent notice, but ever since then he’s been operating on the peripheral of the music business. David still performs, but he does it for much less money and notoriety. His wife Cecily (Samantha Smart) is still very much into him and his music, but no one else is. It’s not the life David necessarily wants, but it’s the life that he has. He gets through it.

One day, the mysterious Javy Bates (Adam Reeser) shows up at one of David’s club performances, saves him from a potential knifing, and they become fast friends. Javy is a big fan of David’s music, which intrigues both David and Cecily. In fact, this fandom eventually gets Javy a spot at the hair salon David runs with Cecily when they’re not on the road playing music for essentially nothing. Javy doesn’t know anything about cutting or styling hair, but, hey, he’s a fan and he seems fairly competent. If he can’t cut hair, Javy can sweep the floor and run the desk. How hard can that all be?

This arrangement sort of works for everyone, at least for a little while. Most everyone at the salon seems to like Javy, except frequent customer Dawn (Carla Wynn), an older woman who seems to have a thing for David. Dawn has weird mental flashes that make her suspect that Javy isn’t who he claims to be. Dawn tries to tell David “what she knows,” but he isn’t receptive to her perspective. Javy is just a fan, a good guy, and a smart guy. It will all work out.

It doesn’t work out. Dawn’s visions about Javy were incomplete and weird, but they were right in that Javy isn’t just some random nice guy that just so happens to be a fan of David’s music. Javy is disturbed and obsessed with David, obsessed to the point that he will do just about anything to get at him. Javy loves David and hates David at the same time. Javy loves David’s music and artistic vision and all that, but he isn’t a fan of David’s inability to see who his one true love is/should be. And that’s Javy.

Javy is freaking insane. He kidnaps a fellow salon employee and traps her in his apartment, he vandalizes the salon, he doesn’t send the check to the power company, and he messes around with Cecily’s inhaler. And on top of all that, he takes David out to a club, roofies him, and records him fucking around with a hot blonde. Javy also has a killer music demo that he won’t let anyone listen to. What the hell is wrong with this guy?

Deadly Envy is a lean and mean low budget thriller that’s probably a little too weird for its own good. The whole obsessed fan story between David and Javy works well enough, but there’s a slight supernatural element to the plot that, at least at the moment, doesn’t make much sense. Because, ultimately, who the hell is this Dawn woman? Why is she such a fan of David’s? And why the hell is she a psychic? She isn’t in the movie all that much, but she does play a pivotal part in the way the movie plays itself out. So, again, what the hell is her deal? Why is she in the movie?

If you take out the psychic aspect of the story, Dead Envy works fairly well. It isn’t anything we haven’t al seen a million times in movies and TV shows and whatnot about obsessed fans, but it’s all well done and fairly interesting. I was hoping for more of a body count with Javy taking out some people close to David, mostly because that’s what tends to happen with these stories (and what better way to show how awful an obsessed lunatic is than with a pile of dead bodies? Or at least more than one). We don’t get one, but the movie moves at a brisk pace and that’s always welcome. The movie also has a terrific main cast that’s incredibly watchable.


Director and star Di Nardo plays David in a subdued fashion, which makes sense since David has been beaten down a bit by life. He has a great wife and a thriving salon business, but he would obviously much rather be playing music in front of people. He isn’t suicidal, and he isn’t necessarily bored with life (his wife and day job ground him), but the spark to perform is still there, but kept in check. When the movie started I thought David was going to be an arrogant jerk, but he isn’t. He’s aloof, in a way, but he doesn’t engage in that annoying “artist” bullshit that “regular” people despise. I think you’ll root for him.

Adam Reeser is disturbed the second you see him as Javy, and when you find out why he’s disturbed he becomes that much creepier. His big scene towards the end of the movie is well done and terrifying, but his weirdest scene is when he washes Cecily’s hair as practice for his spot at the salon. It’s incredibly uncomfortable to watch, mostly because you don’t know why it’s uncomfortable. You find out why it is later, but at that moment when it’s happening you can’t figure out what’s happening but you know it’s wrong. And his freak out scene in his hotel room is hard to watch, too. Great stuff.


The standout performance in the movie belongs to Samantha Smart as Cecily. You don’t quite know how to take her when you first see her, bopping her head to David’s music in a small bar somewhere, but once she starts interacting with David and you see what kind of person she is you like her immediately. She’s the wife/girlfriend we all long for. Could she do better than David? Absolutely. But she’s into him, she saved him from certain personal doom back in the day, and she’s smarter than just about everyone. Why wouldn’t you want to be with her? And why the hell isn’t Javy obsessed with her? Dude needs to alter his psychotic priorities, man.

As for Carla Wynn as Dawn, she isn’t in the movie all that much, but she plays an important part in the story, and I do think there’s potential for her character to have her own series of movies where she uses her psychic gifts to solve murders or crimes or whatever. She is that kind of character.

Dead Envy also has a killer soundtrack. Every bit of music in the movie is top notch and stuff that deserves a soundtrack release at some point. Will it get that? Damned if I know. But it’s something that should absolutely happen.

And Dead Envy is something you should absolutely track down and check out. It’s not the greatest low budget thriller ever made, and it’s a little too weird for its own good (I still want to know why the hell the Dawn character is in the movie), but it’s generally well made, well-acted, and interesting enough to watch. And heck, it’s only 71 minutes long. I think you can spare a little over an hour.

See Dead Envy. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 1

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: None, which is a shame.

Doobage: A band competition, attempted knifing, hair salon hooey, shaving “dick” into the back of a guy’s head, asthma hooey, beard trimming, inventory, an old woman drinking Diet Coke with a straw, a psychic flashback/flash forward/some sort of thing, hair washing, a fat guy at the beach, laptop hooey, multiple overdue bills, a clapper, off screen kidnapping with mild bondage, sabotage, a badass female rock band, roofie hooey, doing shots, a small doing drugs and dancing montage, serious hand washing, off screen vandalizing, sweet talking, suspicious phone bullshit, a sex video, a lack of power, thighs, a sad backstory, off screen dinner, serious beer guzzling, a mild freak out, dish washing, record playing, a creepy fucking dance, a tattoo search, glass beer bottle breaking, kick to the balls, choking, heavy object to the back of the head, stabbing, and a somewhat happy ending (depending on who you identify with in the story).

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Bar band music, hair salon hooey, talk of Johnny Cash, talk of Wham, psychic bullshit, artist bullshit, a hot woman putting on lotion, personal philosophy, a motivational speech about what asthma really is, a guy opening a beer bottle with his teeth, a creepy fucking dance, fake rock music magazine covers, and a somewhat happy ending (depending on who you identify with in the movie).

Best lines: “You know, you are an annoying motherfucker!,” “You’re a hairstylist?,” “You want your tip?,” “I just saw a young man with ‘dick’ shaved into the back of his head,” “Hey, new guy, you’re getting water all over the floor,” “I need you to fix this… situation,” “Shut the fuck up! Can’t you see that I’m in the zone?,” “Blue? Are you drunk?,” “I know. Spray paint’s a bitch,” “It will never happen again,” “Wow. Two guys doing me at the same time,” “I find it deeply unsettling that you keep bringing Al into our conversation,” “Why hasn’t anyone ever heard your demo?,” “How about some more beer?,” “I’m old school, Dawn!,” “We do have neighbors, you know,” “Do you know the last time I danced with a woman? No. Never,” “Jefferson Airplane. Got any more?,” “I fucking loved you!,” and “I can’t feel angry at you right now, David.”

The final score: review Good
The 411
Dead Envy is a lean and mean low budget thriller that’s probably a little too weird for its own good. It contains a sort of supernatural element that is doesn’t really need, which may end up confusing some people. I know it confused me. However, the movie is entertaining and engaging, with a great main cast and some killer music. It’s worth checking out. At barely 71 minutes, you have no reason not to check it out.

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Dead Envy, Bryan Kristopowitz