Release Date: August 23, 1991
Genre: Romantic thriller
Runtime: 110 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Writer: Scott Frank
Address Comments To:Mr. Brandon Tartikoff
5555 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038-3197
The story begins at St. Audrey's Home for Boys, where Amanda, having lost her memory and being unable to speak because of an obsession with scissors and murder, frequently awakes screaming from nightmares. Troubled by Amanda's blood-curdling cries, the director of the Boy's Home enlists the help of detective Mike Church, a cynical private investigator who specializes in finding heirs and missing persons.
With no driver's license or identification, Amanda's identity is a mystery. Mike tries to establish her name and address by placing a missing persons advertisement in the newspaper. He also allows Amanda to stay in his guest room, since the Boy's Home refuses to admit her and the city women's facility is dangerously overcrowded.
Falling asleep, Mike's obscure house guest is tormented by murderous dreams. Dumbfounded by her clamor, Mike challenges a hypnotist-antique dealer to unlock her fears. In a candlelit session, the hypnotist brings Amanda back to her former life: "you are walking down stairs... opening any door of time or place you wish to visit."
Gradually, it is revealed that Amanda is the reincarnated Margaret Strauss, who was killed by a pair of scissors. Framed for Margaret's death is her husband, Roman Strauss, the acclaimed 1940's band leader. His fingerprints are found on the murder weapon, and he is wrongly executed for her death. Using black and white flashbacks to present Amanda's former life, DEAD AGAIN's tapestry establishes with hypnosis and detective work the real killer and motive for the crime.
True to its genre, DEAD AGAIN is an intriguing tale that will have moviegoers sitting on the edge of their seats. Don't even try to figure out the "who done it"; the plot is thoroughly unpredictable!
DEAD AGAIN is a four-star picture, although it cannot be recommended by MOVIEGUIDE because it espouses New Age beliefs, including reincarnation which is in every way opposed to Christianity. The Bible teaches the Good News: resurrection; not the frustration of constantly returning to rehash existence on this mortal coil. After death, we are resurrected for judgment and receive eternal life or Hell, depending upon our relationship to Christ (2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5). In contrast to the New Age belief that our souls will reincarnate into another person or object, Scripture advocates one birth and one death, Ephesians 4:4a.
Reincarnation involves the constant effort to self-redeem one's "bad karma" or the unresolved conflict of one's past life which one can't remember, so the person stuck in this cruel cycle is handicapped each time around. The Good News is that true redemption in Jesus Christ does not depend upon man's desire or effort, nor does it require us to pay for our sins. By dying on the cross, Jesus atoned for our sins, canceling the debt that we rightfully owe. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
Reincarnation presupposes endless "works-righteousness" for hundreds of lives that lead eventually to losing one's identity in the cosmic consciousness which is unconscious of itself. Titus 3:5 tells us, however, that we are saved, not by works of righteousness that we have done, but by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ Who is the Sovereign God who created the universe, and Who is aware of Himself and each of us. Through His salvation, those who know Him enter into eternal life well aware of the glory of the Kingdom of God and the blessings of Heaven. Instead of the morbid concept of self-negation, Christians find themselves through the Love of Jesus Christ.
Thus, in the final analysis, DEAD AGAIN is not recommended because it promotes a false worldview which will lead those who see it away from the Truth that will set them free.