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When first released on the Sci-Fi channel Death Row was originally (or not so originally!) called Haunted Prison. And there you have it; that just about sums it up, it’s about a haunted prison. There is a story but it’s very silly and disjointed. A group of diamond thieves decide to hold up in an abandoned prison while the dust settles on
their recent robbery. At the other end of the prison there is a group of students making a documentary about the prison’s past. Throughout Death Row, we are not given a protagonist and without a main character or a hero we are left wanting. We are treated to some grizzly death scenes but also some dodgy CGI effects, never more obvious than in the closing scene which is just embarrassing to watch!
Here we have a maximum security prison with air ducts big enough for people to climb through, which is more than a tad silly for a start! After seeing more than their share of hauntings and gruesome killings inside the prison, some of the kids manage to escape in spite of the prison being in shut-down mode!! Anyhow, when they get to the river and find that their boat has disappeared they decide to go back into the prison for some more of the same!? Need I say more about the story!?
The deaths are worth a watch but be warned the scenes in between are just fillers until the next death, ideal for toilet breaks with no need to press pause!
Jake Bussey does a fair job of his role as the leader of the thieves, Marco. He overacts his way through the entire film but does inject some much needed energy. Overall the acting is fair but even a cameo from the wonderful Danny Trejo (Con Air, Dusk 'til Dawn) cannot save this film from being swallowed by its own mediocrity.
I always imagined death row to be a boring place where you sat in dread and waited for a horrible ending to come. Strangely enough, that’s exactly what it was!!
DEATH ROW (2006). Director: Kevin VanHook. Writers: Rick Glassman, Kevin VanHook. Cast: Jake Bussey, Kyle Schmid, Stacy Keach, Claire Coffee, Scott Whyte, Shanna Collins, Jamie Elle Mann, Danny Arroyo, Reynaldo Gallegos, James Leo Ryan, Marco Rodriguez.
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