Sunday, September 23, 2012

Everyone Must Die (2012)

Director: Steve Rudzinski
Writers: Steve Rudzinski, Derek Rothermund
Genre: Comedy Horror (Slasher)
Recommended to: Any fan of slasher film with a good sense of humor and tolerance for the eccentricities of budget film making.
MC Pink (Seth Joseph)
Jennie (Nicole Beattie)
Pete (Steve Rudzinski)
Wanda (Aleen Isley)
Kyle (Nick Lamantia)
Guy (Zoltan Zilai)
Carol (Rebecca Campbell)
News Reporter (Clifford Lynch)
The Killer 


A slasher's rampage across the USA is brutally stopped, but the brother of one of his victims doesn't believe the carnage has ended, and sets his mind to revenge.
The Ramble:

(Note: Forgive me, it is late, and I have already packed away my copy of the DVD. The film premiered this evening, with much of the cast and crew in attendance. I suck at remembering names and so there are some people who won't get credit until I can edit this later.)
I didn't get this film at first. I was expecting a straight homage to a slasher film, and that isn't what this film is. That was my mistake, but eventually its weirdly perverse humor bubbled through my thick skull and I ended up having a blast.

The clever conceit of the film is that this could be the fourth or fifth installment of a long running franchise. We pick up at what could be the final moments of the prior chapter, the killer seemingly stopped, for good this time. But we know the genre, we know the formula, we know the killer is alive and so does Kyle, the brother of one of the victims who vows to stop the nameless killer when he next surfaces (a plot element Steve Rudzinski readily confesses to stealing from F13 pt IV).  Kyle is pointed in the right direction by a distressed newsman (a charmingly quirky performance by Clifford Lynch) who's "seen this before."

We then cut to a pair of couples on a camping trip. Again we're following the formula, and at this point I'm still expecting this to be a straight horror film. The couples, again typical of the genre, comprise of four people  that I could not imagine being friends in real life. And to say they are two dimensional characters would probably add an extra dimension to them. There is MC Pink (a white rapper) who always speaks in rhyme, the info-dumping know-it-all nerd, the new age dimwit, and Carol the girlfriend. 

I was initially disappointed to see such thin, stock characters, but as the scene wears on, and the dialogue fell into a rhythm of escalating ridiculousness, it finally sank that the joke was on me. I finally got that it was a comedy first and foremost, and Rudzinski and Rothermund were having a blast with stock characters (with a very fun twist that I won't spoil).

Again, if you've seen a slasher film you know the fate of these characters, which brings us to the next group of twentysomethings, most of which again could be described in a single sentence and one of them has a personal obsession so absurd, it serves as a giant flag that the writers understand how silly it all is. 

It is very hard to review a film like this for two reasons. First, it is hard to discuss the gags without spoiling them. Second, it is a very low budget film, shot in just five days with a newly minted cast and crew, and all that does show on the screen. There are sound issues, unpolished performances, weak fight choreography and so forth, but none of that matters because the film is flat out clever and fun. 

Rudzinkski and Rothermund clearly know their genre films. They have fun with horror conventions throughout (most delightful to me being the handling of cell phones), and the film is sprinkled with funny and often absurd dialogue.

The cast also throw themselves into their parts, and milk the absurd characters for all they are worth. The gags are delivered well and resist the temptation to toss a wink to the audience.  Each character gets their moment, which I attribute to a well balanced script and an unselfish cast. 

Everyone Must Die was a delight and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for something new and different.


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