A Horrible Way to Die (★★★ DVD review)

HorribleWaySquareHere’s a grisly idea for a horror film: a sociopathic killer befriends people in order to discover their idea of the most horrible way to die – and then sadistically adopts that exact methodology to kill them. Despite the title, A Horrible Way to Die is not that film: instead, it’s a low-budget Australian horror film which tells the macabre story of serial killer Garrick Turrell (AJ Bowen) – fictional, but with a whiff of real-life ‘bodies in the barrels’ sociopath John Bunting about him – who, having become something of a celebrity while in prison, manages to escape (using the old loose-screw-rolling-around-on-the-prison-truck-floor-routine), apparently intent on continuing his murderous agenda. His first target appears to be his ex-girlfriend Sarah (Amy Seimetz), whose testimony ultimately helped to convict Turrell. Sarah’s apparent fate is particularly cruel, given that, since her ex-boyfriend’s conviction, she has made a fresh start in a new town, beaten her alcohol dependency, and begun dating the unassuming Kevin (Joe Swanberg) whom she knows from her AA meetings. But is Turrell really intent on tracking her down? Or does he have other, unexpected victims in mind? Hailing from 2010, but only just released here in the UK on DVD, Adam Wingard’s film is the latest addition to an increasingly popular horror subgenre, which should by now be known as ‘mumblegore’. Although lacking in budget – and, in parts, imagination – and suffering from an over-reliance on handheld camera which feels more like a directorial choice than a budgetary limitation, A Horrible Way to Die a diverting way to spend a couple of hours. ★★★

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