Review: Stegman is Dead

A retired criminal is called back to recover stolen evidence in Stegman in Dead. Gus (Michael Eklund) is a retired thief, who is contacted by his old boss Don (Michael Ironside), who had some incriminating security tapes stolen from him by a porn producer named Stegman, who is subsequently found dead at his house. Gus is sent to clean up the mess and along the way he teams up with an assassin named Evy (Bernice Liu), who has her own reasons for finding the tapes.

Stegman is Dead is dark comedy about porn, blackmail, murder….and octopus. At the centre of the story is Gus, who is trying to move on from a life of crime, much to the dissatisfaction of his wife Diane (Andrea del Campo), who is ready to leave Gus and take their daughter Angela (Linnea Moffat). The marital problems are exasperated when Gus is contacted by Don to locate the stolen tapes, with the added stakes that they implicate Gus in the (accidental) murder of two security guards. At the same time as Gus, other members of Don’s crew are also looking for the tapes, including his sons Jesse (J. Adam Brownand) and Sal (Aidan Ritchie), muscle Sergei (David Lawrence Brown), and cleaner Kruger (Stephen Eric McIntyre).

The feature film debut from writer/director David Hyde, Stegman is Dead is the latest attempt to create a Tarantino-style crime film, albeit on a very shoestring budget. The film reminds me quite a bit of First Round Down from earlier this year, though the humour is much more on the lowbrow side. The pornography backdrop opens the door for some pretty tasteless jokes involving octopus porn and little people and the dialogue definitely isn’t this film’s strong suit.

As the obligatory name actor in the cast, it is obvious that Michael Ironside shot most of his scenes within a couple days, with the bulk of Don’s scenes involving him sitting in his office and either talking to Gus on the phone or arguing with his two sons. Michael Eklund is relatively unremarkable in the role of Gus, though he does have some cute interactions with the young actress playing his daughter.

Ultimately, Stegman is Dead is a film that obviously wants to be a cool Tarantino-esque crime film, but it doesn’t have the script to match its ambitions. At the very least, the film provides Michael Ironside with a paycheque.

6 / 10 stars

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