A Horrible Way to Die (Adam Wingard, 2010)
Note: this movie was provided to me free of charge by Amazon Vine.
I started watching A Horrible Way to Die some time ago and got sidetracked; I only got back round to finishing it tonight, quite a while later (over a year later, if memory serves); because of this, I went back to the beginning and watched the entire thing again. It turns out that aside from a few flashes, I’d totally misremembered the bit I’d seen; I’m not sure whether that says more about the movie or me, but I found a great deal of it about as forgettable this time round. I’ve been a big fan of Adam Wingard’s ever since I caught Home Sick, his first feature (viz. review 7Feb09). A Horrible Way to Die, Wingard’s third feature, feels like an attempt to branch out. In that sense, it’s an admirable thing. Unfortunately, I’m not sure it worked.
Plot: Garrick Turrell (The House of the Devil‘s AJ Bowen), a serial killer, seizes an opportunity and manages to escape from prison. He’s on his way home to his ex-girlfriend Sarah (Tiny Furniture‘s Amy Seimetz), now a recovering alcoholic trying to get on with her life, taking the first tentative steps toward romance with fellow ex-drunk Kevin (Kissing on the Mouth’s Joe Swanberg). Unfortunately, Garrick popping up could certainly throw a monkeywrench into those plans…
The biggest problem with the movie is scriptwriter Simon Barrett (DeadBirds)’s attempt to tell the story in a fragmented, non-linear fashion. (He tries to keep the viewer grounded by changing Garrett’s facial hair at the center of the fragmented time period; it does work, in a limited fashion, once you’ve seen the scene where Garrett shaves.) This isn’t Memento; it’s a genre horror film, big twist ending, naked dead bodies, gratuitous violence, and all, and it would have benefited from simply being a genre horror film. It’s not a terrible thing as is, but I got the feeling a number of times as I watched that a simple presentation would have become the material a great deal better than what we ended up with. ** ½
Trailer? But of course.