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A Horrible Way to Die BD [Blu-ray]


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Product Details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada
  • Release Date: Sept. 6 2011
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B0055V0K90
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,877 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andre Farant TOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 7 2011
Format: DVD
A Horrible Way to Die reminded me, in many ways, of the French-Dutch film, Spoorloos (or The Vanishing, to English audiences); more character study than straight up horror film. Through its characters, it examines the means by which violence twines its way into the lives of many, connecting them in unexpected and often tragic ways.

Sarah is a recovering alcoholic trying to move forward with her life, even beginning a new relationship with a fellow group member, the endearingly awkward Kevin. We learn much of Sarah's history through flashbacks and, as her ex-boyfriend, convicted serial killer Garrick Turrell, escapes from prison, her past barrels inexorably into her present and future.

At times, the film seems to drag a little, but these slower moments are like troughs in an unsteady sea, luring the viewer into a false sense of security only to jar you with a swell of violence. Still, the violence is restrained. The terror here is psychological. Most violence is shown only after the fact in sudden, gory flashes that barely allow you to process what you've seen. It's an effective strategy that makes A Horrible Way to Die a more accessible film than the average slasher flick.

Glancing at other reviews of the film, I notice that a common criticism is its shaky camera shots. It is true that the unsteady camera sometimes goes too far, dipping from stylish to annoying, but I personally found that the documentary look served to imbue the film with a stark, cold realism. The overworking of the camera's focus ring, however, did often feel intrusive and could have been toned way down.

Overall, I was impressed with writer Simon Barrett's and director Adam Wingard's film and look forward to seeing their latest, You're Next. A Horrible Way to Die is an intelligent horror-thriller that successfully creates tension through tone and mood rather than violence and gore.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 70 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Well Written But Horribly Filmed Sept. 21 2011
By E. David Swan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I was so excited to get this film. The title of my review would be `A Horrible Film to Watch'. All I had to do now was sit through this direct to video dreck and then slap out a review. Problem is the movie wasn't bad and I had to shelve my snarky review title. Sure it has problems but by and large I think it's successful in achieving the director's vision (for better or for worse).

The story basically follows two threads. First, we follow serial killer Garrick Turrell as he escapes police capture and resumes his killing spree. We actually spend quite a bit of time with the killer and it's clear that he's tortured [so to speak] by his own evil acts even as he commits them. This could have been handled in an eye rolling manner but I thought it was actually done quite well. AJ Bowen gives a pretty good performance as a self loathing killer. In fact I thought the casting overall was well done. The other storyline follows a pair of recovering alcoholics, Sarah and Kevin, who begin a relationship after they meet at an AA meeting. Based on the title I assumed that at some point Sarah, Kevin and Garrick would meet and someone, maybe everyone, would die horribly. It wasn't something I looked forward to since the director did a good job of making Sarah and Kevin both believable and sympathetic. My concern was that the director was just setting the audience up for an extended, cringe worthy torture scene. I won't spill the beans on what happens but the ending was not as I predicted.

So where does the movie go wrong? The photography is vomit inducing. The camera pans in, the camera pans out, we get weird little cuts and sometimes it feels like the cameraman just sort of gently goes to sleep as the camera slowly falls away. Most scenes end with the camera losing focus causing me eyestrain. The romantic scenes were filmed through Christmas lights creating obnoxious light globes on the screen. I guess this is supposed to be some kind of voyeur cam as if the viewer is watching the events from a hidden location but my vision doesn't constantly go out of focus and my head doesn't shake like I'm having an epileptic seizure.

If you're looking for blood and gore this is not the movie for you and I think the film is better for it. In fact it's generally quite tame given the subject matter. If you can get past the horrible and amateurish camera work it's actually an intriguing film with an unexpected and satisfying ending. Many of the scenes are presented out of chronological order which is somewhat confusing but works fairly well to keep the audience off balance. This isn't Silence of the Lambs quality stuff here but for a direct to video film it's pretty good. Now if director Adam Wingard can just stop with the artsy film editing and camera work he might be able to make something suitable for the big screen.

BTW: I love Wikipedia's description of the plot, "A movie about a boy and his journey when he makes a deal with the devil. Then he breaks it." Um, no, that is not the plot of the movie.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An intelligent and dramatic film....wait this is a horror movie? Oct. 13 2011
By The Straw Man - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I am not sure why but I expected so much less from this movie when I popped it in my DVD player. I cannot explain why I had this bias, but I did. I am very happy to say that this movie surprised me. I found it to be very engaging, different, disturbing and (somewhat) believable. In other words, I really liked it.

To summarize the plot, Sarah (Amy Seimetz) is recently sober and has been attending AA meetings for about four months. Still waters run deep with Sarah and it is written over her face that there is emotional turbulence plaguing her life. In her home group she meets Kevin (Joe Swanberg) and an awkward intimacy blooms between the two of them. Meanwhile, Garrick Turrell (AJ Bowen) is an extremely dangerous serial killer who has just escaped from prison and is on the run. As he eludes the authorities he begins killing again. Garrick's goal is to go after Sarah; she is both his ex-girlfriend and the one who turned him in.

I do not want to minimize the plot, but this is basically the story. I am not attempting to belittle the story, but it isn't very complex. Notwithstanding, the manner in which the tale unfolds is what makes it unique. The narrative is interwoven; the present and former events are blended together. A perfect example of this is Sarah working and then going to AA meeting morphs to her being at home with Garrick. The movie isn't very linear. I actually find non-liner to be very refreshing, yet even I was befuddled at times. As for the violence, it is true dualism in the sense that it is subtle and graphic. Some of the killings are left to the imagination and others are a splatter fest. This is a movie making ruse I haven't seen before and I welcomed it.

I felt the acting in this film was really good. Amy Seimetz was very believable as the fragile woman with a damaged past. Sarah was a low key character but I had an investment in what happened to her. I have only seen AJ Bowen in "House of the Devil" (which was a great horror flick) but his performance in that film was a little one dimensional, good but one dimensional. In AHWTD Bowen's acting was very, very layered which gave his antagonist depth.

The pace of the movie is slow and at times it is like treacle dripping off a spoon. Honestly, I didn't mind it because it gave the movie a "character piece" feel to it. However, I could see how it could turn some viewers off. There were a few scenes that I felt were a bit too winded.

Nevertheless, the one aspect that really keeps this film from being a five star movie is the cinematography. There are more scenes that I can count where the camera goes out of focus for no apparent reason. In addition there are scenes where characters are talking and the camera just wanders off, drops up, drops down or all of the above. I am not sure if the camera man was somebody's drunken uncle who begged for a job but it was very obnoxious. I am all for "off the cuff" camera work but it was ridiculous in this movie.

Yet what really seals the deal for this movie is the denouement, it blew me away. How the events all tied to together was marvelous and really set this movie apart from the mindless drones of modern horror cinema. I would strongly recommend this movie for the horror fan who wants a little drama and a little intelligence with their blood.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great ending, held back by horrible technical flaws..... July 12 2012
By Jonathan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
A Horrible Way To Die is a mediocre horror/thriller. It follows a recovering alcoholic and her serial-killer ex-boyfriend. It was decent and may have been a 3 star flick, but it's held back by some significant technical flaws.

What did I like? There were two scenes that made me say "wow". I enjoyed the twisted ending. And the music was great, although out of place at times. Acting was good, most of the time.

What did I dislike? This movie barely has any thrills or frights to be classified as a supposed horror/thriller. It felt a bit long, even with its already short length. The storytelling also jumps around a lot, and it can leave you slightly lost. It has very annoying transitions that are always blurry for several seconds. Also, the cameraman is constantly moving; every scene has the camera bouncing and swinging for no particular reason.

Overall, it was an okay movie. I do not recommend directly paying for this movie. As of 7/12/12, A Horrible Way To Die is available on Netflix Streaming, so stream it if you really want to watch it and save your money.

This movie has nudity and sex (not clearly seen because of the cameraman), and excessive blood and gore. (most of the violence is done off screen, we see mostly the aftermath.)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A very mediocre Anchor Bay horror film. Nov. 22 2011
By Jason P. Pumphrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Anchor Bay really used to be a great company for classic horror titles reissued on DVD, they also used to have great exclusive extras on many of the titles.
Now they are in the movie making business, and now the they hardly even do reissues at all, a sad reality.

The film I just watched "A Horrible Way To Die" was just mediocre IMO, the story, the directing and the acting.
Anchor Bay seems to crank out these generic horror titles these days, sadly the old Anchor Bay is no more, and many of the great horror reissues are now OOP, and command high prices.

At least AB still has Halloween (1978), Dawn Of The Dead (1978), Evil Dead (1982), and Day Of The Dead (1985) in their catalogue.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A different kind of serial killer film Sept. 28 2011
By trashcanman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Don't be misled by A Horrible Way to Die's misleading grindhouse-tastic title. Up until the film's final minutes, there is but one onscreen death, and every Argento fan has seen much worse. This is not an exploitative B-horror movie filling the screen with blood and death. This is a slow-burn lead-up that takes two character threads and slowly brings them together into one of the most never-see-it-coming sequence of twists I've ever seen. Up until then it's not really a thrilling film, and actually seems to suffer from an identity crisis of sorts while leaving questions unanswered (like "how does seeing a screw on the floor of a police car equal an escape from custody?") in it's push to get to the finale. But if you are a fan of serial killer films, I can't honestly say you should pass this one by. It is a rare original.

A Horrible Way to Die is the story of two people. One, a notorious serial killer with a rabid online fan base, and the other an innocent woman trying to get her life together through Alcoholics Anonymous. While the killer evades police and racks up his body count while on the road, the woman begins a relatably awkward romance with a fellow recovering alcoholic. What these two stories have to do with one another, you will have to wait and see. The film takes it's time slowly filling in backstory and details of the past using flashbacks, but once it gets there AHWTD really earns it's stripes.

As serial killer films go, this is one that eschews both the standards of Hollywood and the excesses of slasher and hardcore horror films. This one is first and foremost about the characters, and the cast does an excellent job of portraying the vulnerability of it's characters. In fact, at the Fantastic Fest film festival, this film earned not only a Best Screenplay award, but Best Actor and Actress awards as well. It's not the scariest film or the goriest, but it is definitely different, and that scores a lot of points with me.

In spite of the film's uniqueness, AHWTD doesn't always live up to it's award-winning pedigree. The title is misleading to the point of being baffling given that it is so tame in comparison to the works of guys like Eli Roth, Rob Zombie, Takashi Miike, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, and even Chan Wook Park. Second, a film shouldn't really feel as slow as this one at a mere 85 minutes. There's a lot of character work that the actors should be commended for, but much of it is unnecessary to the story, such as the focus on AA. The climax is intense, delightfully ironic, completely surprising, and really makes this film. The ending is a little bit abrupt, but it certainly does it's job of really changing the way you look at the killer.

Serial killer fanatics should absolutely give this film a watch. The vulnerability of the leads is outstanding, the finale is sweet, and there is plenty more to like about AHWTD. Hardcore horror fanatics looking for a cheap-thrill-a-minute with buckets of gore and girl-girl love scenes with hulking killers chasing stumbling teens around and/or spending minutes on end in graphic torture sequences should definitely give this one a pass. There is some genuine brutality here, but it is brief and never lingered on or glorified. Basically, if you've got patience and an appreciation for the original, give this one a shot.

3 ½ stars, rounded up for ending with a bang.

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