Forgotten Classic: Method (AKA Dead Even)

It’s rare that you find a modern film as trashy as Elizabeth Hurley horror vehicle, Method, but we have recently been blown away by it. This may be known to you as Dead Even, the title by which it was released to audiences in USA.

Directed by Duncan Roy, Method follows a world-famous actress returning to the screen, playing the role of a real-life serial murderess. It’s not long before she begins obsessing over the part and takes her research to the next level.

We have always rated Elizabeth Hurley highly as an actress – she harks back to the golden days of glamorous cinematic leading ladies like Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. And like the aforementioned, may not be the most-convincing actress but remains a star all the same. Although, Hurley in Method may be best suited to comparisons with the later career of Joan Crawford and Bette Davis – when the stars ventured into trashy horror films.

Method is made in an intriguing fashion – jumping between Rebecca’s on-set life and also to ‘the film within the film’ where the actress plays Southern serial killer, Belle Gunness. Hurley plays Rebecca (the film star) with the utmost realism – her performance is truly convincing, it is when Rebecca steps into the role of Belle that things take a wonderfully trashy turn. Hearing twangs of Hurley’s English accent crossed with a magnificently awful southern drawl makes for an utterly bizarre performance. Just picture the English rose shouting “Can you mend a fence? How ’bout cuttin’ corn?” – it’s heaven.

Belle is a woman who’s motivations are unknown, it seems she just likes to kill – this lack of motivation may not be essential as the real focus is Rebecca the actress beginning to kill – but it may have made Method feel less madcap and trashy, had there been some context.

Method is filled with glorious moments of trash including sultry Rebecca’s affair with former co-star, the blandly hunky Jake Fields (Jeremy Sisto). Seeing Rebecca lustfully gazing at Jake as he shirtlessly pumps water from the ground is one of the major sources of laughter, not to mention the most unsexy sex scene ever committed to film. Even the killings are sheer trash gold – Rebecca’s chosen method is by sticking a letter opener in people’s necks from a local boy she picks up in a sleazy Romanian bar to Jake Field’s real life wife and bathing actors on set – how else is a huge film star to find her victims?

There is also John Barrowman, who appears to be playing himself in a campy supporting role as an over-the-top entertainment journalist. This part consists of John spanking a local rent-boy and being as bitchy as possible to the stars on set – it is completely fitting with the uneven, trashy tone of Method.

Method is a modern classic featuring a borderline iconic performance from Liz Hurley to hilariously uninspired murder sequences. You can buy Method for the grand sum of 29p from Amazon.

Liz wants her corn cuttin’
Oh no, what’s she done now?

On set

Liz waits for a Romanian stud.