Movie Reviews

Dead Serious Review: What’s Funny About Suicide?

The plot takes a drastic turn when Amara’s supposed death leads Jonny on a misguided path of suicidal attempts, culminating in a rushed and unconvincing resolution.

Dead Serious review
Dead Serious trailer cover [PHOTO CREDIT: Youtube/@ShowMaxOnline]

Suicide is a serious topic, and so is our Dead Serious review. ‘Dead Serious’ attempts to blend romance, comedy, and the serious topic of suicide awareness, but does this fusion succeed or fall flat? Directed and written by Moses Inwang, known for previous works like ‘Lockdown’,  ‘Merry Men 2,’ and Netflix’s ‘Blood Vessel,’ this Showmax Rom-Com Original released on February 26th, 2024, takes viewers on a rollercoaster of emotions, leaving them with mixed feelings.

The story revolves around Jonny (played by the comedian Emmanuel ‘Sabinus’ Ejekwu) and Amara (portrayed by Sharon Ooja), who find love amidst societal differences and family objections. While Jonny, a local grocery store owner, falls head over heels for Amara, her father sees an opportunity for upward mobility through her engagement to a wealthy CEO named Deremi of the company where he worked as his driver. The plot takes a drastic turn when Amara’s supposed death leads Jonny on a misguided path of suicidal attempts, culminating in a rushed and unconvincing resolution.

Plot

In the opening scene of the movie, we’re introduced to Johnny, whose world is turned upside down when the charming and beautiful Amara walks into his mini-mart. It’s a classic case of love at first sight as Jonny finds himself utterly captivated by Amara’s presence, leaving him speechless even after she departs from his shop.

Despite discouragement from his younger sister Vero and friend Pato who believed Amara’s sophistication was beyond Jonny’s reach as a local grocery store owner, Jonny remained steadfast in his pursuit of love. Refusing to let societal judgments based on his appearance or status deter him, Jonny embarked on a journey to create a beautiful love story with Amara.

Amara, hailing from a modest background with a father employed as a driver for a wealthy CEO, embodies humility and grace. Despite her upbringing, she carries herself with dignity and expects the same level of respect from others. Meanwhile, Amara’s father, portrayed by the legendary ‘Nkem Owoh,’ harbours ambitions to change his current status as a low-class individual, seizing any opportunity that promises a change in fate without hesitation. 

That opportunity came in the form of his rich CEO/boss Deremi, (Deyemi Okanlawon)  the affluent CEO and boss of Amara’s father. Deremi epitomizes arrogance and disrespect, showing disdain for those beneath his social standing. Upon encountering Amara while she dropped off her father’s lunch, Deremi, captivated by her beauty, expressed his interest in her in a manner dripping with rudeness and condescension. Despite Deremi’s disrespectful behaviour towards him and his daughter, Amara’s father remains unfazed, viewing Deremi’s interest in his daughter as a potential means to escape poverty. Regardless of Deremi’s demeanour, the allure of financial stability outweighs any concerns about his character.

Jonny and Amara effortlessly connected due to their strong chemistry, overlooking their differences. Amara found herself drawn to Jonny’s kind heart, respect, and sense of humour, making it easy for her to fall in love. However, the surprise proposal from Jonny halfway through the movie left viewers intrigued about what would unfold next. Amara’s initial shock at the sudden proposal left Jonny with unanswered questions, but it didn’t take long for her to accept, realizing her love for him.

At this point, the movie began a downward spiral, shedding its authenticity and compelling plot, leaving audiences filled with questions and disappointment. Amara was tasked with informing her father about her engagement to Jonny, a local businessman, adding another layer of complexity to the storyline. Amidst her father’s disapproval of Jonny as a suitable match for his daughter, the unfolding events left viewers bewildered,  The subsequent scene depicted Jonny, accompanied by Pato and  Vero, along with Amara and her friends, kneeling before her father to seek his approval for their marriage. Reluctantly, her father agreed to the proposal and granted them his blessings, adding a twist to the storyline.

Dead Serious review
Moses Inwang, Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Ejekwu, known as Sabinus, and Lilian Afegbai at Showmax’s brand relaunch & exclusive premiere of ‘Dead Serious’ [PHOTO CREDIT: Society Now]

As marriage preparations commenced, tragedy struck when Amara was involved in a severe motor accident. Some may argue that, at this juncture, the writer’s ability to craft a coherent plot wavered. Rushed to the hospital and reportedly in critical condition, questions arose about her father’s actions. How Amara’s father who supposedly cared and loved his daughter saw her misfortunes as an opportunity to jeopardize his daughter’s happiness and love life with Jonny, leaves viewers puzzled.

In handling the sensitive topic of suicide, the film fell short in treating it with the necessary care and intentionality. Jonny’s suicidal attempts following the false news of Amara’s death lacked authenticity, raising questions about the inclusion of comedic elements in such scenes. The decision to infuse comedy into suicidal situations seemed ill-advised, leaving audiences wondering about the intended message and awareness being raised. This was a missed opportunity for the writers to utilize the platform to advocate against suicide. 

In the story’s conclusion, Jonny’s final suicide attempt is interrupted by news of Amara’s survival, leading to their eventual marriage with her father’s approval, spurred by Jonny’s hidden wealth and business success. However, this outcome raises questions about Amara’s absence during Jonny’s heartbreak and many suicidal attempts, leaving lingering uncertainties.

Cast

While casting Sabinus and Sharon Ooja as Jonny and Amara may not have been the best idea, they still delivered commendable performances.

Nkem Iwoh’s reputation for stellar performances and his dedicated work ethic shone through once again in the movie ‘Dead Serious

Deyemi Okanlawon’s depiction of Deremi was applaudable in ‘Dead Serious’.

Additionally, the film featured a talented ensemble cast including (Lawal Michael Nasiru Bolaji ‘Nasboi’), Lilian Afegbai, and (Oluwatoyin Albert ‘Tomama’).

The casting choices in “Dead Serious” are commendable, with each actor bringing depth and authenticity to their respective roles. Furthermore, the cinematography, though not exceptional, effectively captures the mood and atmosphere of the film, enhancing the viewer’s immersion in the story.

Language

By incorporating a mix of Pidgin, Igbo, and English, ‘Dead Serious,’ gave off an enriched storytelling experience offering audiences a deeper immersion into the multifaceted realities of Nigerian life.

Despite its ambitious premise, ‘Dead Serious‘ falls short in executing its fusion of romance, comedy, and serious themes. While the performances are noteworthy and the use of language enhances the narrative, the film struggles to maintain authenticity and handle sensitive topics with care. The inclusion of comedic elements in scenes depicting suicide awareness raises questions about the intended message. Ultimately, ‘Dead Serious’ leaves viewers with mixed feelings and unresolved uncertainties.

Dead Serious review
4.6
Review Overview
Summary

The inclusion of comedic elements in scenes depicting suicide awareness raises questions about the intended message. Ultimately, ‘Dead Serious’ leaves viewers with mixed feelings and unresolved uncertainties.

  • Costumes 4
  • Casting6
  • Plot5
  • Setting6
  • Story2
Watch 'Dead Serious' On Showmax

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