The Civil Dead is a new film directed by Clay Tatum also written by and starring Tatum and Whitmer Thomas. It’s the second film for the director. It’s a little weird but in a good way. The twist is a bit interesting in how it’s used in the film. It’s premiering at Slamdance 2022.
Tatum plays a sad sack of a man named Clay who is a photographer who’s got a wife Whitney (Whitney Weir). When she goes out of town, he gets involved in some wild situations. He’s a bit down on his luck, but while out taking pictures one day he meets an old friend named Whit (Whitmer Thomas). Together they hang out with each other, but Whit doesn’t understand boundaries. Clay needs a little space before telling his wife about his friend.
The character Clay struggles with a newfound gift he has and how to deal with it. He seeks help but doesn’t really find anyone to help him. He is also struggling with how to handle his new friendship with his new friend, Whit. The film doesn’t handle the relationship very well. They argue with each other like husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend.
This film has a supernatural element to it. Films with these kinds of elements can be good, but they can also work against them. This film uses supernatural elements as a comedic buddy film, and that relationship is at the heart of the film. Sometimes these types of tropes are good to get characters’ struggles and what’s going through their minds. The focus of the friendship can be a bit annoying at times, but also sweet. Both main characters can learn from each other because of their different ways of thinking.
This film also says a lot about loneliness and how hard it is for someone to be by themselves without love, friends, or life to live. The one being left alone without anybody can feel depressed and different mental illnesses can set in. Finding acceptance within life isn’t easy. Accepting your lot in life sometimes can be difficult for people looking for companionship. They sometimes grasp on to those they have a kinship with. That’s where the boundaries come in. Knowing when to step away is key in any relationship or friendship.
Clay Tatum crafts an interesting story. His filmmaking style is pretty straightforward and works for this particular story very well. The cast, especially Whitmer Thomas, is very good, but you can tell they are relative newcomers to acting. The story is interesting and says a lot about friendship and boundaries between said friends. Having this come into my life at this time is very prophetic for me because I have issues such as this sometimes in my life. Being alone isn’t always fun.
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman Founder/EICdisappointment media