Friday, November 16, 2012

A Horrible Way to Die

I missed A Horrible Way to Die when it came out. Then, I saw that it was on Netflix and added it to my list, but the title and the cover art put me off, honestly. I didn't want to see some torture flick - it's just not my scene for the most part.

A.J. Bowen (The Signal / House of the Devil) starring and some positive feedback got me to take a shot with the film and I'm really glad I did. It's not SAW. Not even in the same ballpark, thank goodness. This is a thoughtful film with some fantastic performances and a great story - items that are all missing from everything after the original SAW film. :::grin:::

The film tells the story of Sarah (Seimetz), a woman trying to overcome a drinking problem and a very...very bad relationship. She meets Kevin (Swanberg) and things seem to be looking up. She's letting Kevin in and she's getting used to the idea of having her life back. Unfortunately, her ex-boyfriend and wanted, escaped serial killer Garrick Turrell (Bowen) might have something to say about the state of her future plans.

A.J. Bowen, Amy Seimetz and Joe Swanberg turn in stellar performances here. They are real and deep and thoughtful with some true punch. Everyone knocks it out of the park. There is a weight to the relationships and a mood that is set by the delivery that is hard to find in genre films in general. The true horror here is the reality that life tosses some major shite at some people and you just need to deal with it before it deals with you. It's rough and somber and dark, but it wasn't hard to watch.

Simon Barrett's script is clever and gritty without being melodramatic or silly. And Adam Wingard's direction wraps everything up and slaps a giant bow of awesome on the whole of it. The style really puts you in every scene - for better or worse.

And the biggest and most welcome return here is that I actually - pardon my French - gave a shit about the characters! Man, how I hate the "set 'em up and knock 'em down" nature of some genre films. (As some of you return readers already know See: Rants) I need to feel invested in the well being of the characters if I'm going to care about the film or the resulting trauma it may have in store for them.  

A Horrible Way to Die has you pulling for everything to work out in the end for everyone. Sadly...well...this is a horror film at the heart of it. Things just wont work out for everyone here.

This isn't an easy film to watch, but it's a great film and well worth a little discomfort. If you see it, let me know if you agree or disagree and why.   Let's talk! :)

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