A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE (2010)
Directed by Adam Wingard
Written by Simon Barrett
Starring AJ Bowen, Amy Seimetz and Joe Swanberg
The film opens up as Garrick Turrell (AJ Bowen) leads his gagged and bound victim into the woods and strangles her to death. This is followed by the introduction of Sarah (Amy Seimetz), a recovering alcoholic who’s attending a Alcoholic Anonymous meeting. There she meets Kevin (Joe Swanberg) and the two develop a friendship which soon becomes a relationship. In between us following the relationship between these two characters, we see flashbacks and current events of the life of Garrick. A shot of him in solitary confinement in prison educates us in the fact that Garrick was a convicted serial killer, who’s notoriety had gained him fans all over the world. During transit between prisons, Garrick escapes and leaves a bloody trail in his wake. Glimpses of flashbacks show that Garrick was Sarah’s ex-boyfriend and now it appears Sarah is the ultimate target for Garrick.
I have many bugs about this movie and only one thing good to say about it. Firstly, the flashbacks and current events are confusing. There are no rhyme or reason to them. They are choppy and unorganised and thrown in there to try to explain a story that does not make much sense anyway. The only way we know if it is a flashback or not is because Garrick had the courtesy to shave his beard off to leave a moustache after his escape from the prison officers. Prior to this, he has a full beard/tache combo going on.
Secondly, the camera shake. My god, it was annoying and slightly nauseating. Granted it wasn’t as bad as Gasper Noe’s Irriversible, but there was no need for the shoddy, shakey camera effect for this film. It did not enhance it any way. Sometimes I feel that filmmakers use this to try and make their film more ‘arty’ – you know, like artists who have an unmade bed in a gallery with spaghetti hoops on the bedsheets and the artists and critics alike hail it as ‘modern art’. What happened to normal, steady shots? Another gripe is the blurring too. Just totally unneccessary.
As far as the killer plot goes, it’s laughable. Granted there is one graphic kill which is pretty impressive, but the rest just happen. What is true for all of them is that there is no real motive or method to the madness. It’s just slaying for slaying’s sake. One thing I hate about plots is when they don’t make sense or aren’t justified. This is one of them.
Lastly, Garrick is meant to be hailed as a modern hero by a generation of psychotic youth. The radio reports suggest he has a following on Facebook and many look upon to him as a celebrity or filmstar. Unlike the visualisation of adoring fans that Natural Born Killers used, A Horrible Way To Die does not really show any following of the killer until the last 5 miutes. I find this a bit lame and just a pointless addition just to set up the final scene.
So the last 5 minutes. I suggest if anyone wants to watch this just to fastforward to the end because believe me, you aren’t missing anything up until then. The story is slow moving and the only good thing is the twist at the end. However, it cannot make up for the boring previous 1hour 15minutes. A wasted opportunity.
[pt-filmtitle]A Horrible Way To Die[/pt-filmtitle]