Dead Envy feels like a movie inspired by Eminem’s “Stan,” but taking things to the next level.

Director(s) Harley Di Nardo
Screenplay By Harley Di Nardo, Stacy Hullah
Date Released (LA) August 24th at Arena Cinelounge

(VOD) September 3rd

Genre(s) Drama, Thriller
Good If You Like Stalker Films

Rock Music

Cute Couple Getting Involved With A Crazy Person

Actors Introduced
David Harley Di Nardo
Cecily Samantha Smart
Javy Adam Reeser
Dawn Carla Wynn
Disclaimer: A Free Screener Was Provided For A Honest Opinion On The Film


38 year old David may not see himself as a has-been, but that might just be because he never really got to peak. Just as things were kicking off he left the tour he was on and things haven’t really been the same sense. However, now he is trying to rebuild himself through local shows while working the day job of being a hair stylist at a salon he co-owns with his wife, Cecily. But things are hard.

Making it where when this guy named Javy not only wants to work with them at the salon, but perhaps musically, he seems like a God send. However, as Javy hangs around the shop more, as well as David and Cecily, we are reminded that not all things from heaven are good. You remember who Lucifer is right?


Cecily and David’s Relationship

David and Cecily talking on a staircase.

One of the big draws for me is that Cecily and David have a complicated marriage. They’ve been together for years and are kind of in a rough patch. The kind where sex isn’t really happening, both are stressed out, and as Dawn relays to us, David is probably still making up for things he did long ago. Yet, with every smile, every kiss, you grow attached to the idea of these two being together and working out their issues. Especially since Cecily still seems to very much love David and support his musical aspirations. Even if history has shown that, when things take off, there is the possibility she may just get left behind.

The Music

While not personally a huge rock fan, I will admit the music in the film had me checking to see if my phone was able to identify the song. Which it couldn’t so I plan on double checking the credits and seeing if any of the musicians involved are on YouTube or not.

On The Fence

The Eccentricity of Dawn and Craziness of Javy

When it comes to the thriller aspect of the film, I do feel that you have to watch this film from the lens of it being an indie film in the old school sense. As in, not a film which has big name people behind it, with a budget of “only a few” million dollars. Going by IMDB, this film was made for $50,000. The amount some people make in a year. So, with that in mind, you have to take into account there might have been the question of: How can we, that is the creators, stand out? Which, in Dead Envy’s case, the answer was Dawn and Javy.

Javy with a creepy smile.

But, as much as they are part of the sell, alongside David and Cecily’s relationship, they could also be what keeps you from getting into the film. Dawn because her vibe is just out of sync with everyone else, and the way she expresses being uncomfortable with Javy is just a little over the top. Then, when it comes to Javy, there is no such thing as subtle. It’s clear from the get go that there are screws loose and he is seriously going to be trouble.

Which is fine for crazy people have been used to spark up movies since the beginning of time. However, what has led to Javy being like this, and what made David so special in particular? Well, that is the one thing which separates Javy and Stan, when it comes to comparing the two characters. For Javy’s backstory isn’t dived into. The only thing he presents is the need to question: Will he get away with what he does? The answer is in the film.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

Dead Envy, Di Nardo’s third film, unfortunately requires putting out disclaimers and asterisks. Be it noting how many films Di Nardo has done, the film’s budget, or that many of the actors either don’t have lengthy resumes or may have parts in which they really got to work their craft. Yet, don’t take me saying that as excuses but more a request to remember you have to take note of a film based off the resources and experience behind it. You can say this should have been done better, or that, but what you are thinking about would cost money that might have meant cramming more shooting into one day because of the cost to rent a location. If not putting off production longer to work with everyone’s schedule.

Hence the mixed label. You can understand what was trying to be accomplished here, and how it might have been better if more money was available. Yet, sometimes you can’t just say it was lack of funds. For, as seen by the writing and performances behind Cecily and David’s relationship, you don’t need that for a compelling movie. Yet, taking note of them, it makes it where Dawn and Javy come off more like liabilities than assets in both how they are portrayed and how they are written. If just because they lack the same layers that our two leads were given to make them compelling.

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