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Diagnosis: Death - comic horror DVD review
DIAGNOSIS: DEATH Rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 stars
Actors: Raybon Kan, Jessica Grace Smith, Suze Tye, Bret McKenzie, Rhys Darby, Loren Horsley
Director: Jason Stutter   Distributor: Lions Gate Home Entertainment
DVD release: 29 December 2009   Runtime: 83 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD features: Aspect ratio 2.35:1, Audio tracks (English - Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), Subtitles (Spanish), Trailers

Andre Chang is a less-than-upstanding teacher who we see at the get-go of Diagnosis: Death taking a bribe to give a student a better grade. Before long, karma catches up with him: he discovers he has a terminal form of cancer, and there's no chance whatsoever that he could survive... Oh, except for this one clinical drug trial.

Juliet Reid (Jessica Grace Smith) is an 18-year-old student (though not at Mr. Chang's school). She's gonna die too, from lymphoma. They both get in on the same clinical trial, for which they need to be isolated by being locked in a wing of a hospital. Some patients are given the drug (side-effects include death), and some are given a placebo.

Their keepers are Dr. Cruise (Bret McKenzie) and Nurse Margaret Bates (Suze Tye), who is sort of like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest's Nurse Ratched only less sympathetic. She tries to keep the patients in their own beds and shoves huge amounts of green fluid into them. She seems to have the hots for Juliet.

Juliet and Andre become friends and discover that they are experiencing similar hallucinations, which are another side-effect of the drug (not similar hallucinations but, well, you know). They start to piece together a mystery about famous tragic writer Charlotte Mansfield, who died in that very same ward.

Diagnosis: Death bills itself as a comedy/horror but doesn't quite succeed on either level, though there are a few laughs and some kind of creepy bits. What is there is a low-budget, enjoyable if uneven film that does okay with what it has. The characters are likable, though Chang starts out pretty shaky (and I'm not sure why that is). Fans of Flight of the Conchords may enjoy seeing stars McKenzie, Jemaine Clement Rhys Darby, though they don't play major roles in Diagnosis: Death.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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