Saturday, December 31, 2011

Candidate # 1

(September 2010)

In the same manner that Gareth Edwards’ Monsters was essentially an indie character piece with alien monsters running all about the place, Adam Wingard’s A Horrible Way To Die is an indie character piece with a serial killer as one of its characters.
The pacing, the narrative structure, the entire general approach to the material is very tellingly from this particular branch of the vast and sprawling cinematic tree, so whether or not you enjoy this film will probably be dictated by where indie character pieces fall on your personal movie tastes barometer.
You’ll either like and applaud the efforts of Wingard and writer Simon Barrett in applying that template onto genre material, or you won’t.
If you do like it, though, you’ll also find some nice performances by Amy Seimetz as a woman recovering from both alcohol and a very bad relationship, Joe Swanberg as a fellow AAer who shows an interest in Seimetz’s Sarah, and the ever-reliable AJ Bowen, who’s continued to impress since I first caught sight of him in past ¡Qué Horror! title, The Signal. Here, he plays Garrick Turrell, the aforementioned serial killer who has “several fan sites on the Internet dedicated to him, and a Facebook fan page with membership in the hundreds of thousands.”

Though I was never really that bowled over by Barrett’s past work on scripts for Dead Birds or Red Sands, I do appreciate what he’s done here, and heartily look forward to his subsequent collaborations with Wingard, which includes the very buzz-y festival darling, You’re Next, which plays an interesting variation on the home invasion template. (The other collaborations are shorts for the anthologies The ABCs of Death and V/H/S, which is debuting at Sundance 2012.)

(A Horrible Way To Die OS courtesy of; DVD cover art courtesy of

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