I did not intend to watch the Nigerian film Over Her Dead Body when I got up this morning. The price of being in active cancer treatment has compelled me to sell some of my huge collection of movies on eBay, and I thought, what better way to restart this blog than to review the movies I am selling? And if you know me, you know the selling is a motivation to do some writing, and not the other way around.

So I intended to watch and review the 1984 Brian De Palma film Body Double, and I searched Roku to see if it was available on streaming for free so I wouldn’t have to use the DVD that is hopefully soon to be someone else’s. It was a paid rental, but I did find in the results a 2008 romantic comedy called Over Her Dead Body on Tubi that I thought I would just watch a little of before I got going with Body Double. The 2008 film is a story about a ghost bride trying to hang onto her fiance, and stars Eva Longoria, Paul Rudd, and Lake Bell. Just the sort of Hallmark-like junk I love to chill out to when I’m not watching murder shows and giallos.

But Tubi did a twisty cause when I clicked on the 2008 movie it instead took me to this 2022 Nigerian relationship dramedy, and boy am I glad. I have only seen clips from Nigerian genre films featured in bad special effects reels that people upload to YouTube, but this was a real movie, and I would never have seen it if the Roku search function wasn’t doo doo. I liked Over Her Dead Body so much I didn’t have a game controller in my hand while I was watching, because these days movies are just something to have on for company while most of my brain is searching for shiny Pokemon in Paldea.

Synopsis: Ladi and Zara are an upwardly mobile couple who have never gotten around to having kids. Now in their late 30s, they have a beautiful home in Lagos to go with their prestigious jobs. At least, Zara has an enviable job, having achieved a PhD and now owning a private school which she also runs. Ladi is supposed to be a businessman, but mostly he just gets drunker than our old pal Cootie Brown. Ladi’s interfering mother wants grandchildren so badly she travels from out of town to teach us all a master class in manipulation, bringing with her a second (younger) wife for Ladi for whom she has already paid the dowry. Ladi knows why the new woman, Simbi, is there with his Mama, but he won’t tell Zara or stand up to his mother. Meanwhile, Zara’s driver/bodyguard Samson has a ne’er do well brother called Sunday who owes money to a big bastard named Rasco Da Gamma. And we’re watching to see how these two stories intersect.

Naturally, I was hoping for a showdown between Ladi’s Mama (yes, she is billed as Mama) and Rasco, whose name made me think about Vasco da Gama the explorer I don’t remember anything I learned about from elementary school. Both Mama and Rasco are evil schemers who might make Machiavelli blush. I almost admire people like this who are able to turn other people’s words around, when I’m not on the receiving end. For example, Mama tells Zara that she is dying but warns her not to tell Ladi. When Zara obviously tells him, Mama can only start screaming about how Zara has betrayed her confidence, and that is somehow supposed to override her lies. “How dare you tell him the lie I told you in secret! I always knew I couldn’t trust you.” We all have family members who act like this.

Unfortunately, just when the drama reaches its peak, there is a copout ending. The dialogue and acting were great until that time, and I cared about both Zara and Simbi. This story could have gone in several directions. It still was an interesting take on different social classes as well as different generations, and the culture of the country versus the city. And at least it shows potential to viewers like me for the huge Nigerian film industry beyond CGI demons and explosions. But wait, we like demons and explosions. What am I talking about?

On a sad note, the actor who played Sunday, Patrick Fakoya, died in a car crash last year. I thought he had a charismatic screen presence and from my searching I found he was also a musician going by Rico Swavey. Such loss to the arts community and a tragedy for his family and fans.

Will I ever watch Body Double? I have avoided it this long, even when I went through a Da Palma phase in my 20s that mostly involved watching Blow Out and Dressed to Kill on a loop. So what can I say about it? I don’t know how the DVD arrived on my shelf. It’s in great condition. I associate Craig Wasson with horror because of NOES 3 and Ghost Story. Why did Venetian blinds become a metaphor in all 80s and 90s noir pictures? Is it the “blind”ness or the way they evoke jail bars by casting a shadow? Is it the peek-a-boo aspect if they are left open just a shade to reveal Melanie Griffith’s bodacious tatas? If you want to see them boobs you can watch Nobody’s Fool with Paul Newman, which is an awesome relationship dramedy I have watched many times, unlike Body Double.

If you’re in the market for a gently used copy of Body Double, or another of the DVDs in my growing eBay store, check this out: https://www.ebay.com/usr/erilashle_0