MTI // 2007 // 95 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // June 20th, 2008
Turn On. Log In. Watch Out.
The first release from the fledgling Evil Twins production company; Death on Demand is the latest release in the growing reality TV/horror sub-genre.
Having slaughtered his family twenty years ago, in the unintentionally hilarious scene that opens the movie, mountain climber Sean McIntyre committed suicide. Back to the present day, and the owner of the Death on Demand website convinces three young couples to spend Halloween in the old McIntyre house, during a live webcast.
All is going well enough, until the participants conduct a séance and bring forth the murderess spirit of Sean McIntyre. Trapped inside the abandoned house, the six contestants soon find themselves fighting for their lives.
Apparently aspiring to fall into the "so bad it's almost good" category, Death on Demand contains pretty much everything you'd expect, and have since come to dread, from a straight-to-DVD slasher movie. Poorly conceived shots? Check. Acting barely above the level of a kindergarten play? Check. Cheesy attempts at humour? Check. A script that lacks any creativity? Check. The list goes on. But don't just take my word for it, lets take a scalpel to this rotting corpse and dissect the slightly warm remains.
To hear that Death on Demand is a poor film will shock no one. What might be surprising though, is that despite being cliché-ridden and contrived, there are moments here that actually hint at a much better film trying to breakout. These moments, though scattered thinly throughout the films 95-minute running time, almost fooled me into a false belief that this was a decent movie. Thankfully, its never too long before Death on Demand reverts to type and provides a sobering slap to the chops; bringing me back to my senses.
In its attempt to have a high body count, Death on Demand insists on its characters being as dumb as possible. While I generally have no time for this style of lazy writing, I have been known to let films off in the past; well not this time. While Death on Demand telegraphs every single kill, I still found myself getting some enjoyment out of it, perhaps, I thought to myself, this may just about scrape a not guilty verdict. And then it happened; they went and pushed me too far. The films' final kill is so obvious, so dumb and so insulting that it ruined everything and exposed Death on Demand for the poor wannabe that it is. In short; they screwed with the wrong guy.
I don't need to tell you, that the characters contained within the film, are the stereotypical cannon fodder we've been seeing in horror films for the past thirty-odd years (do I?). From the slightly nerdy loner, to the psychic girl whose abilities are never fully utilised or explained; Death on Demand gives us nobody to root for. Props should be given, however, for the inclusion of a jock suffering from erectile-dysfunction and flatulence issues. Seriously people, in a movie like this, you take whatever you can to make it through.
They say if you can't say something nice, you shouldn't say anything at all; so with that in mind I'll just say the film's cast is poor and move along. Adam Matalon's direction is lacking in any real style or individuality. Nothing here really makes him standout from the rest of the bargain bin crowd. A quick look on IMDb, however, shows his past directorial credits include a number of Sesame Street episodes; so he's not all bad.
As with other MTI releases, the screener copy contained no extra features. Though exact details are hard to find, it seems anyone renting or purchasing the retail copy should find a filmmakers commentary and a series of outtakes. Audio and video on the disc are serviceable at best. No glaring faults are evident, but there's nothing to write home about either.
If you, like me, are the type of person who finds the idea of a man who is enjoying the "benefits" of taking viagra, getting punched in the Johnson, funny; you may well get a few laughs from Death on Demand. Never taking itself too seriously, the film has a tacky charm that almost, but never quite, redeems it
Though used sparingly, Death on Demand also contains a number of grisly kills, that employ some really quite impressive effects work.
Death on Demand isn't the worst film ever. Indeed, had it relied a little less on such lazy set-ups for each kill, it may have attained guilty pleasure status. As it is though, Death on Demand is a forgettable experience that, for me at least, left a bad taste in the mouth due to that last @&*$#£% scene!
Guilty. Send it to the chair!
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Scales of Justice
* 1.66:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Official Site