Super bleak but powerful horror.
Far away from the seemingly endless stream of found footage movies and ghost stories currently stinking up theatre screens there is an impressive slew of underground horror directors slowly building momentum. Along with Ti West, A Horrible Way to Die director Adam Wingard is at the forefront of this scene following his success with You’re Next and his involvement with both the V/H/S and The ABCs of Death chronicles.
A Horrible Way to Die is an arty but brutal ‘what if?’ story in this case posing the question ‘what if your boyfriend is a serial killer?’. This question is a powerful one as it causes fear and uncertainty to breed in the one place that it never should – in your own home and in the arms of your loved one.
While not particularly high concept the constant extreme close ups and chilling choral score make for a unique and memorable viewing experience. This helps to frame three really top class performances with The Sacrament’s AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg acting as the perfect foil to Amy Seimetz tragic heroine. Bowen in particular is superb as convicted killer Garrick Turrell and a more cynical director could have made a horror franchise off the back of this performance but it is clear with Wingard as with West that the project is more important than the pay check and this is something to be lauded now more than ever.
A Horrible Way to Die is not revolutionary but it is a further example of the direction that horror films should definitely be going. Wingard’s next move will be to remake much loved and critically acclaimed South Korean horror flick I Saw the Devil… No pressure then.