Living Death (2006) - Unrated

Genre(s): Comedy --> Dark / Drama / Horror / Thriller
Peacearch || Unrated - 85 minutes - $24.95 || December 12, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-12-09


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Erin Berry
Writer(s): Leo Scherman (story/screenplay), Christopher Warre Smets (screenplay), Erin Berry (screenplay)
Cast: Kristy Swanson, Greg Bryk, Josh Peace, Kelsey Matheson


Theatrical Release Date: NA


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Living Death: Behind the Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: None

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

The revitalization of the horror genre with the release of torture films like Saw and Hostel also brought about numerous clones theatrically and direct to DVD. Movies like Wolf Creek or even The Hills Have Eyes remake try to exploit this newfound life of highlighting peopleís deaths. With Living Death, the DVD cover makes it look like another carbon copy but after 80 minutes, I realized it was merely a marketing ploy by the DVD producers. In part I was glad because Iíve had enough with those kind of horror movies, yet that still doesnít make this one any better.

Living Death is about Victor (Bryk), a rich and disturbed socialite with a penchant for the tortured human body. Despite being married to the gorgeous Kristy Swanson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Victor has other women on the side whom he uses as subjects on his torture devices in the attic (one being a rack) and any harm that might come to those ladies, get paid off with a low settlement.

Sick of Victorís abusive nature, she plans to kill her husband with the help of his lawyer, and lover, Roman (Peace). Roman gets a special poison from a drug dealing client, a poison that will incapacitate the victim, making the individual look dead even though he may in fact be alive (and can see and hear everything going on around him). While this plan seemed to go off without a hitch, Victor manages to come back to life before being sliced opened and seeks revenge on those who have wronged him.

Living Death isnít a good movie, but I guess I have to give it marks for not being another Hostel or Saw either. Those who see the DVD cover with a young woman screaming and the tagline: ďScream all you want... he enjoys itĒ, will go in and get something different (interestingly, the cover adds some blood to the womanís face and shirt, where none is present in the film). Yes, thereís some blood and violence to satisfy the sadists, but a majority comes across more like a dark comedy thriller (a la Army of Darkness) than horror. Many elements are played for comedy like Swanson walking in on Victor torturing a woman or med students digging through his guts.

For a direct-to-DVD release, the production value is actually pretty good and direction from co-writer/director Erin Berry (producer on various DTV slasher movies including UKM: Ultimate Killing Machine starring Michael Madsen).

Living Death isnít exactly thrilling but these characters, all of whom are not good people, are fun to watch. I canít recommend this flick since itís something you can wait for to air on Cinemax or Showtime, but itís still better than some of the DTV crap that gets released every month.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Living Death: Behind the Scenes (20:04) - Starts with an interview with director Erin Berry, who refers to himself as an asshole and seems to have some fun in the interview. This is followed by some shorter sound bites with the three main actors including Kristy Swanson and gives glimpses into how some of the scenes were made. Just based on the interviews, I wouldíve enjoyed a commentary from any one of them; they seemed to have a good time together.

Thereís also a theatrical trailer available.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Living Death is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 1.78 OAR, and looks clear of dust and scratches. Since this is a low budget film, itís not perfect in places, but still solid. The sound was dodgy in spots, however. I noticed from the get-go that some dialogue didnít come through very well and the sound had to be cranked up a bit, then lowered for other scenes and raised again. Itís a Dolby Digital 5.1 track and fine for the most part, but you can save your surround sound.



.::OVERALL::.

Living Death is a B-movie thriller that might satisfy a few, but donít get misled by the advertising or DVD cover, because this is more in-line with Army of Darkness black comedy than Hostel-like horror. Not saying itís as entertaining as the Bruce Campbell series, but it reminded me of elements of the classic. If you have an open slot in Netflix, then maybe give this a gamble; otherwise wait for cable.