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All Souls Day: Dia De Los Muertos

Production shingle CFQ, makes an inauspicious debut with "All Souls Day." Hash of familiar genre elements throws together zombie-ghosts, Mexican cultural stereotypes, imperiled U.S. college kids, and other strands that stubbornly refuse to mesh. Silly pic sometimes appears to laugh at its own cliches, but mostly it's just dumb.

With:
With: Marisa Ramirez, Travis Wester, Nichole Hiltz, Laz Alonso, Laura Harring, Ellie Cornell, Danny Trejo, David Keith, Jeffrey Combs, Julia Vera.

Production shingle CFQ, offshoot of sci-fi/horror bible Cinemafantastique, makes an inauspicious debut with “All Souls Day.” Hash of familiar genre elements throws together zombie-ghosts, Mexican cultural stereotypes, imperiled U.S. college kids (looking 30-plus), and other strands that stubbornly refuse to mesh. Silly pic sometimes appears to laugh at its own cliches, but mostly it’s just dumb. Still, it’s technically polished and lively enough to end up on the Sci-Fi Channel or thereabouts, where it will be right at home alongside the likes of “Pinata: Survival Island.”

Hubba-hubba Alicia (Marisa Ramirez) and class clown Joss (Travis Wester) are campus couplers who detour into a mysterious Mex village when lost en route to her parents’ ranch. There they crash into an apparent human-sacrifice-in-progress, and are forced to stay overnight in a creepy hotel presided over by robo-concierge Maria (Laura Harring, dreadful). After a second hottie pair (Laz Alonso, Nichole Hiltz) shows up, quintet must fight vengeful spirits of villagers killed by a gold-hoarding baddie (Danny Trejo). By midpoint, helmer Jeremy Kasten and scenarist Mark A. Altman give up trying to unite arbitrary leaps in tonal, story and character logic.

All Souls Day: Dia De Los Muertos

Production: An IDT Entertainment release of a CFQ Films production. Produced by Mark A. Altman, Mark Gottwald. Co-producer, Chuck Speed. Directed by Jeremy Kasten. Screenplay, Mark A. Altman.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Christopher Duddy; editor, Joseph Gutowski; music, Joe Kraemer; production designer, Denise Pizzini. Reviewed at Slamdance Film Festival (Midnight), Jan. 23, 2005. Running time: 86 MIN.

With: With: Marisa Ramirez, Travis Wester, Nichole Hiltz, Laz Alonso, Laura Harring, Ellie Cornell, Danny Trejo, David Keith, Jeffrey Combs, Julia Vera.

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