Living Dead Lockup DVD Review

Written by Daniel Benson

Released by Customflix

Written and directed by Mike Hicks & Mario Xavier
2005, Region 0 (NTSC), 62 Minutes, Not rated
DVD released on July 13th, 2006

Mario Xavier as Jared
Natalie Morales as Rachel
Miguel Angel Novo as Miguel
Hess Wesley as Tank
Renier Murillo as Ducky
Mike Hicks as Will
Amanda Healy as Goldie Sommers


In the 1940s, The Stonegate Correctional Institution was the site of many deaths and occult rituals under a brutal head warden. After his death, things returned to normal but his sinister legacy remains…

Forward to present day, and when a petty car thief, Jared (Mario Xavier), is sentenced to a spell in the prison, he encounters more than he expected.

In the bowels of the prison, the dead are rising from their graves. Now he and his cellmate Miguel (Miguel Angel Novo), must find a way to break out and rescue Jared’s girlfriend, Rachel (Natalie Morales), before they fall victim to the living dead.


I was so hoping to enjoy this movie, mainly because the cast and crew are making the noble effort of donating 5% of the profits to charity. Regrettably, I found very little in Living Dead Lockup to enthuse about.

That said, Xavier does an OK job with the meagre resources open to him. Considering the movie is set in a prison, he’s managed to convince the viewer that the characters are actually incarcerated by keeping the shooting frame very tight on the actors’ faces, which also creates an air of uncomfortable claustrophobia.

The actors put in credible performances all round, and so they should, they filmed Living Dead Lockup in the evenings, after performing a stage show of Shakespeare’s "Taming of the Shrew" during the day.

The special effects show how little was spent on anything other than camera and editing the final product. Most of the zombies are disguised with long wigs (maybe they’re hippy zombies), and shaky camerawork coupled with video filters, make a further attempt to hide the fact they’re not up to much.

This is micro-budget movie making. I have no idea what the cost was, but from the finished product it must be only a few hundred dollars. I hate to come down on an indie movie because the people who make these films put their heart and soul into getting their projects distributed, often for no reward other than a reduced bank balance.

I can find little to recommend Living Dead Lockup, but for sheer dedication and charitable attitude, I salute the filmmakers.

Video and Audio:

Shot on DV, with maybe too many filters applied during the action scenes. The picture is gritty and pale in colour saturation. It actually works quite well given the setting for the movie.

A Dolby 2.0 soundtrack is included, which does the job and no more. Acceptable, given the obvious low budget.

Special Features:

A fair selection of extra features accompanies the main feature. There’s a blooper reel, which is mostly footage of the actor’s fluffing their lines, but shows that there were good spirits all round during filming. Next up is a trailer, followed by features on casting and the editing process. Finally, there’s a short piece called Hurricane which was shot, by candlelight, during an enforced break in filming by hurricane Katrina.

Most of the features last only a couple of minutes, but again, a good effort from the filmmakers to include them on the disc.


Movie: 2 Stars
Video: 3.5 Stars
Audio: 3.5 Stars
Features: 4 Stars
Overall: 2.5 Stars

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Daniel Benson
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UK Editor
Fuelled mostly by coffee and a pathological desire to rid the world of bad grammar, Daniel has found his calling by picking holes in other people's work. In the rare instances he's not editing, he's usually breaking things in the site's back end.
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