REVIEW: Dreaming Purple Neon
– By MovieCritic NextDoor
Finding a good job is never easy. Just ask Cat (Millie Milan), who thinks everything’s fine at work until she hears gunshots while sitting at her desk and realizes that her boss, Tyrone (Ricky Farr) is a drug dealer. I’m not sure how she didn’t realize that sooner. Anyway, in her panic, she stumbles across her boss’ stash of guns and drugs and does the worst possible thing. You guessed it — she steals the stash and rushes over to the dentist’s office where her best friend Denise (Eli DeGeer) works to get advice on what to do now.
Denise sensibly says Cat should have gone straight to the police, but by then it’s too late. Tyrone and his muscle, Ray Ray (Antwoine Steele), have arrived and the audience settles in for a gangster movie. That’s when televangelist Mr. Archer (Jack McCord) takes the film in a completely different direction. All right, he isn’t a televangelist, but he looks and sounds like one. He’s actually just a regular guy who wants to summon the Queen of Hell, Abaddon (Dilynn Fawn Harvey). Seriously.
And so the gangster movie collides with the demon-summoning horror picture and all hell breaks loose. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Archer, it turns out, has been supplying Tyrone with his latest product, a glowing concoction called Purple Neon, which must give the best high ever because otherwise I can’t imagine anyone willingly injecting themselves with something that glows in the dark. I’m a coward, though. But since the Neon makes people who use it throw up black goo, it must be some wonderful stuff.
Further complicating things, Denise’s long-lost boyfriend Dallas (Jeremy Edwards) has reappeared just in time to join the fun, along with his friend Chris (Grant Conrad). Chris is really regretting having volunteered to come along for moral support as they go on the run along with Cat, the dentist (Nick Randol), his last patient of the day, April (Ana Plumberg), and her mom (Jolene Loftin). But the building is in lockdown, and of course there’s nowhere to go but the basement — which is no longer a normal basement, but a maze of strange rooms and dark corridors filled with all the horrors of the underworld.
At this point I was uncomfortably reminded of the random haunted house experience that is VooDoo. And like that movie, Dreaming Purple Neon absolutely revels in the goriest gore you can imagine and then some. Both have plenty of human sacrifice and cannibalism, plus an unhealthy obsession with intestines. This film even brings in power tools.
But this movie also manages to remember that there’s a plot involved, however uncomplicated, and that showing the suffering of a long series of random unnamed strangers gets old pretty quickly. And Neon doesn’t forget to have fun with the horror tropes, which is why it was a much better watch than VooDoo despite the superficial similarities. I could have done with about fifteen minutes less of the blood and guts, but otherwise it was fun to watch, cheesy, nostalgic, and unashamedly over the top. Eli DeGeer steals the show now and then as the best actor of the bunch and I also would’ve liked to see her get a little more to do, but thankfully she isn’t a total damsel in distress. And if you need another reason to fear going to the dentist, this movie is happy to oblige.