A muddled script, spatially confounding direction and four thesps seemingly acting in four different movies are only a few of the problems with the misbegotten political thriller "As Good as Dead."

A muddled script, spatially confounding direction and four thesps seemingly acting in four different movies are only a few of the problems with the misbegotten political thriller “As Good as Dead.” Even the presence of Andie MacDowell, Frank Whaley and Cary Elwes cannot make sense of what feels like a Southern Gothic excuse for protracted torture scenes and geopolitical confusion, laced with surprise twists that only further the inanity. Bowing Oct. 8 at Gotham’s Quad Cinema, “Dead” seems headed straight for DVD oblivion.

A liberal Gotham photographer (Elwes) is attacked in his apartment by a trio of Christian white supremacists seeking to avenge their leader, slain 10 years earlier. Pic evolves into one long torture sequence as the threesome — the leader’s burn-scarred widow (MacDowell), her hate-filled son (Matt Dallas) and a designated born-again wacko killer (Whaley) — try to force a confession. Whaley apparently enjoys his flashy part as the impatient psycho, eager to off anyone who ventures into the frame, but no one else musters much believability for this hysterical “no I didn’t”/”yes you did” exercise.

As Good as Dead

Production

A Firstlook Studios release of an Eclectic Pictures production in association with Major Motion Pictures, First Line Entertainment, Millennium Films. Produced by Heidi Jo Markel, Jordan Gertner, Eve Pomerance. Executive producers, Avi Lerner, Hubert Gibbs, Eli P. Navon, Belton Lee, Gary Michael Walters. Co-producers, Jennielyn Abrot, John Yarincik, Nick Allan. Directed by Jonathan Mossek. Screenplay, Eve Pomerance, Erez Mossek.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Frank Barrera; editors, Julie Carr, Lee Percy; music, Greg Arnold; production designer, Jade Healy, Anne Stuhler; costume designer, Rabia Troncelliti. Reviewed on DVD, New York, Sept. 7, 2010. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Andie MacDowell, Cary Elwes, Frank Whaley, Matt Dallas, Nicole Ansari, Brian Cox.

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