'A Horrible Way to Die' Movie Review

A Horrible Way to Die Movie Review
by Marcey Papandrea, MoreHorror.com

I am a big fan and supporter of independent cinema; I will definitely go out of my way to give it a shot. When a film with a title as cool as this one ‘A Horrible Way To Die’ comes along, it has to be seen.

I went into this film fairly pumped to check it out, the word of mouth has been strong and the artwork looked really neat. So did this bad boy live up to its name? Yes and no, there were certainly aspects that work and others that really didn’t. It is a shame those issues that played against it had such an impact on my viewing because I really wanted to like this more than I ultimately did.

The films plot is actually rather simple, but it is something that isn’t evident from the get go. Sarah (Amy Seimetz) is trying to get her life back, moving to a new place, and attending AA meetings to deal with her alcoholism. She begins to feel comfortable enough that she starts dating a fellow AA member. On the other side of the fence, serial killer Garrick (AJ Bowen) has escaped imprisonment and is on the run. What do these two characters have in common? Well she’s his ex, and it seems he’s coming back for her.

As I pressed play, I completely forgot everything I knew about the film. I tend to do that these days, so that the movie will come as more of a surprise. The reveal with this film is gradual, and it doesn’t really make itself or the storyline quite clear until a good 30 minutes in. I liked this approach, as it weaves between the different characters and past/present narrative. It kept me interested, and guessing as to what exactly was going on. I really liked the washed out, almost colorless approach some scenes had, it gave it a bit more atmosphere.

The actors are all fantastic, with both Seimetz and Bowen stealing the show. Bowen played a serial killer, a brutal one. But his ‘guy next door’ approach was creepy, and the fact that he was so nice and considerate just gave me goosebumps. Seimetz played the struggling to deal, recovering alcoholic quite well, she was believable and I felt sympathy for her. Such well rounded performances that I had trouble even noticing anyone else because they made something out of their roles.

Now for the dull side of the blade. The camera work. The film used the handheld camera approach, and at times it looked as if my 18-month-old niece was operating it. The camera was rarely steady, it went in and out of focus so much it was frustrating. This is not how you do things in my book, if this were a film that was established as being something shot with a personal camera (Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity for example) that’s fine. But this movie was not about that, and the terrible camera work failed it big time. I had a hard time focusing, it was constantly moving, and surely the filmmakers could have sprung $10 for a tripod even, something to keep that camera still. Or you know figured out how to focus the damn thing.

A Horrible Way To Die is not a bad film; I’d place it somewhere along the slightly above line. I liked it for the most part, but what didn’t work almost ruined it for me. I’d still recommend checking this out, solid stuff and the performances are great.

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