Do you take Judge Patrick Bromley as your lawful film critic?
You may now kill the bride.
Death Do Us Part is the most frustrating kind of horror movie: the kind that strives only for mediocrity and achieves it.
Written, produced by and starring the husband and wife team of Peter Benson (The Break-Up Artist) and Julia Benson (Stargate Universe), the Canadian horror film Death Do Us Part finds a group of six friends heading to a remote cabin for the weekend for a joint bachelor/bachelorette party before the wedding of Ryan (Benson) and the unfortunately-named Kennedy (Julia Benson). Also along for the ride is party guy Chet (Kyle Cassie, Lost Boys: The Tribe), Kennedy's sister/bad girl Hannah (Christine Chatelain, 40 Days and 40 Nights), troubled Derek (Benjamin Ayres, Good Luck Chuck) and Emily (Emilie Ullerup, Hunt to Kill), who is blonde. The group's partying and awful backstabbing is interrupted by the presence of a creepy-for-no-reason caretaker (Dave Collette, Leap 4 Your Life) and the fact that they all start getting murdered.
Described by the Bensons on the DVD's only featurette as a movie conceived and written in a matter of days, shot with friends on a location they already had simply because they all wanted to "make something," everything about Death Do Us Part feels undercooked. That the Bensons admit it's a rush job explains a lot of the film's flaws—it's like an improv exercise caught on film. The script is more of a loose outline, the characters aren't very developed and it takes more than half the running time before the killings start. That's over 45 minutes in which the six friends act like jerks. The guys are awful misogynists, the women frail and crazy (except for Hannah, who is a slut who sleeps with her sister's fiancee). The bloodshed happens almost entirely off screen. The only sex scene is between two people wearing all of their clothes. It's like the filmmakers (including director Nicholas Humphries making his first [only] feature) know what belong in a movie of this type but had no idea how to deliver it.
Many of the flaws might be overlooked if we liked this group of people. Since more than half of the film is a "hangout" movie, there's plenty of opportunity to make the characters fun to be around. That never happens. Maybe the thinking is that horror movie characters are often shrill and unlikable (though I would argue that's not at all accurate) or that we will be eager to see them die if they are awful. That might have been true in this case, but even the eventual bloodshed is unsatisfying. Julia Benson is a very lovely actress, but has nothing to do here but alternate between vaguely and completely panicked. Everyone else behaves stupidly at all times. Everyone is mean to one another. There is never any sense that any of them are actually friends (which is weird, because they are in real life) or that they would be upset if the others were killed. It's that kind of movie.
Anchor Bay releases Death Do Us Part on a no-frills DVD. The 1.78:1 anamorphic image is fine if unimpressive, likely because the movie was shot quickly and cheaply and looks it. There are a lot of nighttime scenes and the disc rarely (if ever) succumbs to crushing issues, which is to be commended. The 5.1 surround audio track is fine; there's a bit of ambient activity, but most of the work is done by the front channels. The only bonus feature is the aforementioned making-of featurette, which interviews everyone in the cast as they talk about how much fun they had hanging out and making a horror movie. So at least they had a good time.
Death Do Us Part is totally forgettable, which might be the worst sin a horror movie can commit. There's one funny line of dialogue and one brutal kill scene, plus an endless series of twists leading up to an ending that's meant to be a surprise, assuming you've never seen another horror movie and can't spot the signs. If those reasons alone are enough to make you want to seek it out, well, at least you know what to expect.
I want a divorce.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
Review content copyright © 2014 Patrick Bromley; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.