Alright, this one is a recent addition to my collection, and might be on a swift trip back out of my collection, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here. This is A Horrible Way To Die.
An escaped murderer is in pursuit of his ex-girlfriend, who has fled to start a new life in a small town.
First off, I want to say that I would really have liked to enjoy this movie, especially after seeing the director’s most recent two films. This one is directed by Adam Wingard, and written by Simon Barrett, the team behind two of my favourite movies in recent years: You’re Next and The Guest. This was the third feature by these two, and I’m really not sure what happened between this and You’re Next. They shift in quality of both film making, and writing is so massive that it almost doesn’t feel like the same film makers.
The major issue with this movie is that it’s really hard to look at, the movie is shot almost entirely handheld and it almost feels like you’re watching a found-footage movie, but you aren’t. There are weird blur-in/blur-out transitions between many of the scenes that are weird and some of the shots are so shaky and awful that you lose track of what’s going on. That really works against the movie in a big way, I found it really hard to get invested in the story and characters because of how poorly the movie is shot.
That said, most of the performances are nothing to write home about either. There are a lot of familiar faces in this, especially if you’re a fan of You’re Next, which was kind of nice. I really do enjoy AJ Bowen and Joe Swanberg in general, but they really don’t have much to do in this movie. As well, the reveal in the end seems to come out of no where. At a certain point in the movie I remember thinking “Oh, this is the twist I guess” and it turned out to be right. The story and characters are pretty flimsy, and it really just doesn’t work for me. Though there are a couple of good shots buried into the movie, but not enough to save it.
It really feels like this is a student film, and that’s ok. There are some reasonably good makeup effects, and one or two special effects that are pretty good, but it almost seems to be forcing the dark tone that it has and all of it really just feels disjointed and weird. It’s really unfortunate that this one didn’t work, I had pretty high hopes despite the bad reviews I’ve read of this one.
Overall, this is a poorly shot, awkward movie with very little redeeming qualities in it except the familiar faces. It really only served to remind me of how much I loved You’re Next. So, if you haven’t seen any Wingard movies, then you should really not start here. Check out the other two that I mentioned. This one was a miss, and really disappointing.