Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) moves in with his extended family after his mother is arrested. He is a metal-head burnout in the eyes of those around him, and his devil may care attitude lands him in with another local anarchistic youth Zakk (James Blake). They form a literal blood-pact, make some napalm, and start a band. Oh, and they also summon a demon. Because, you know, movies.
Deathgasm strives to have the same devil may care tone as Brodie and company. It’s quick to the cheeky joke and random bit of metal masculinity. Given its pacing runs like the chugging of a metalcore rhythm guitarist, even the non-diegetic on-screen visuals feel right (non-diegetic on-screen graphics almost always feel out of place in this reviewer’s mind).
In short, the film’s metal sensibility gives rise to stylistic choices that may feel shoddy in another movie. Luckily for Deathgasm, these stylistic choices are contained in a film entitled Deathgasm. Trasnsgression, splatter-level violence, and a crude sense of humor does not lower this film to smut; instead, its pure embracing of such hipster anti-formality feels warranted. One must only watch the introduction of one of the film’s major antagonists, in which a man is beheaded on an expensive rug and must be beheaded again on a tarp, in order to understand this fitting sense of antiestablishmentism.
This said, the film does fall into familiar tropes as well. Namely, the romantic subplot is to blame, as it treads on the oldest of conventions. In spite of his character’s involvement in this subplot, Cawthorne provides a satisfactory lead performance. Even in the scene that introduces the possibilities of love between his character and the female lead Medina (Kimberley Crossman), he provides a character with the promise of depth.
Despite its reduction into tropes, Deathgasm provides a film that takes a look behind the curtain of the rebellious mind. Brodie’s alienation becoming the inciting incident for the horror of the film, we are provided a hyperbolic look into the power of ostracized loneliness. That, and it is a compellingly-shot splatter flick.
For any horror fan, Deathgasm is a fun, bloody treat. It delivers a narrative with all the (very) gory details, with the pacing and humor needed to excuse its own metal insanity. It may use premise as a camouflage for originality, but it has enough energy and production behind it to make up for any rehashing.
Director Jason Lei Howden has done visual effects work on some of the most visually appealing films of the last decade (The Avengers, The Hobbit trilogy). With Deathgasm, his feature directorial debut, he shows both a directing charisma and a cinephilia for the horror genre that are promising signs. With his multi-faceted talents, I am excited to see what he does next.
As always, thanks for reading!
Like CineFiles on Facebook for updates on new articles and reviews.
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)