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Dead on Arrival

Dead on Arrival poster
Emmy nominated Billy Flynn stars in an ensemble cast as Sam Collins, a pharmaceutical sales rep who visits a small town in Louisiana to close the business deal of a lifetime. He finds himself in a dark world of sex, corruption and murder as he is poisoned with no antidote to save his life. Desperate for answers, with less than 24 hours to live, Sam turns to a local girl Jesse. Their path leads to a voodoo priestess who only confirms Sam's doomed fate. On the run, caught in a deadly vertigo with no one to trust, Sam and Jesse find themselves running from police detectives, the Mob and a dirty sheriff who wants him dead.

Inspired by the 1950 classic noir thriller D.O.A. I TrailerTwitter I Facebook I Festival bookings


What would you do if you had only 24 h to live? Dead on Arrival by Stephen C. Sepher reviewed

Review: Dead On Arrival by Stephen C. Sepher (US, 2017)

by Martin I. Petrov

There’s not an easy answer, and in most cases, knowing that the end is around the corner wouldn’t have been the preferred option. Though, that’s not what Sam Collins’ fate has in store for him.


A young man speeds up on the highway, and minutes after he is kneeling breathless next to his car, suffering from severe pains. First time director Stephen C. Sepher leaves a lot of unanswered questions with his choice for opening scene, making Dead on Arrival an intriguing and thrilling journey in reversed time.


Our next encounter with Sam takes us to the previous night and a Gatsby-like gala, where   a race of power, money, drugs and alcohol decorate lavishly the event. Invited to negotiate a pharmaceutical business deal, Sam ends up caught in a web of powerful corrupt magnats and a number of seductive young women, seeking to sell their beauty for an ephemeral social upgrade.


When the following morning, Sam leaves the premises of the estate, he hits the road, only to end up on a hospital bed few hours later. He finds out about a fatal poisoning that will kill him in less than 24 hours and has seconds to decide if he’ll accept his fate and surrender or spend his last day chasing ghosts and looking for answers. Feeling the local authorities’ breath on his neck, Sam wastes no time to embark on a risky journey, attempting to connect the dots that may bring him closer to an answer.


Sepher creates a suspense-filled, intense thriller, with a pacing flow that makes us become part of a manhunt game, where all outcomes are possible. Billy Flynn (Days of our lives, Hawaii 5-0) in the role of Sam, delivers a meaningful, modern interpretation to his character, embracing a dark and mysterious note. A mixture of liberation and despair, as if he’s just escaped of prison and yet knows his death sentence will be executed and there is no way back.


Local escort Jessie (Christa B. Allen), whom Sam initially meets at the party, unites with him to follow the trails of his killer. Unable to trust anyone, and being chased by a corrupt police officer, the couple begins looking for clues, while detectives investigate the tragic death of doctor Alexander, the host of the party, for which Sam could also be a suspect.


Dead on arrival is an interesting take on the contemporary vanity-dipped society, where money and hierarchy are the threads moving around their victims in a never ending game for recognition and power. In an Orwellian business and corporation driven world, a countless number of people are sacrificed for the sake of the ‘greater good’, for the experiment, for the opportunity to climb up. Sepher’s sharp dialogues and gritty punch-lines contribute to a fast pace, along with a soundtrack that adds an extra thrilling spice. Similarities can be found with other titles of the genre, but the importance if the open message we carry all the way through and beyond: Is it really worth fighting for something when we know time is against us?