Deathgasm (Dark Sky, Blu-ray)

Director - Jason Lei Howden

Cast - Milo Cawthorne, James Blake

Country of Origin - New Zealand

Discs - 1

Distributor - Dark Sky

Reviewer - Scott MacDonald

Date - 01/16/2016

The Film (4/5)

     I've watched horror films obsessively for just about a quarter century now. I'm sure this happens to most fans, but I have sort of entered the "Cranky Old Man" phase of fandom. I am very critical about new films, I want to find new cinematic horrors to enjoy, but most of the time find myself disliking them. It feels like we live in a generation of remakes, and if not remakes, films that idolize the concepts used by prior generations filmmakers. There is nothing inherently wrong with that. If something worked well once, it should work again, but if one sees it enough times it does become stale and boring.

   Deathgasm is certainly not an original film. It wears it's influences quite clearly on it's proverbial sleeve. When watching it one can clearly see the influence of Peter Jackson's early work, in the tone and overall slapstick of the violence, a bit of Stuart Gordon's early work like Re-Animator and From Beyond here in how the violence is balanced with both silly, and at times serious. There is also a liberal helping of Sam Raimi influence in the blending of the worlds of horror and comedy, but also in the direction and camera work by Jason Lei Howden who keeps the camera moving at times in a roaming POV similar to Raimi's work in the Evil Dead films.

   With that out of the way I will say Deathgasm as a film though not original, was rarely boring. The film follows a pair of metalhead teenagers Brodie and Zakk who form the titular band Deathgasm. One day Zakk gets it in him to break into an abandoned house to steal music from a rock icon who long ago disappeared. When Brodie translates some occult text to go along with the music  they raise demons who possess the town. It is up to the pair, the rest of their band, and Brodie's love interest Medina to stop the chaos before it's too late. In their way is a group of occultists bent on using the situation to raise the king of all demons and taking over the world.

   Deathgasm is a real sonic blast of horror cinema. I will state that I am in both target demographics for this film, as a fan of underground extreme metal, and horror cinema the film was tailor made for a guy like me. That being said they could have done so much wrong. The film could have referenced bad mainstream metal, instead they referenced everything from Cannibal Corpse and Death to Autopsy and Nunslaughter which kept the metal side of me pleased.

     As for the film itself, it had a nice steady pacing, and rarely lost that. The characters didn't seem like nerd, and heavy metal clichés for the most part  There was some decent dramatic tension and suspense in the latter parts of film, not overbearing, as this is more of a splatter film then a suspense picture, but it is certainly there. The violence in the film is pretty frequent, and the gore FX that supply them is completely solid. The humor in the film is mixed, but works for what it is and lends well to the overall atmosphere of the film.

 

Audio/Video (4/5)

     Dark Sky Films has presented in a quite solid 2:35:1 1080p AVC encoded transfer preserving the films original aspect ratio. Detail is very nice throughout the transfer, as are black levels, and colors. There are some minor issues with softness, and minor blocking, but they rarely detract from the overall transfer.

   The DTS-HD 5.1 track is in English, and for a film centered around metal sounds excellent. Dialogue comes through nicely, as does the score, and of course the heavy metal soundtrack comes through loud and clear.

 

Extras (3.5/5)

     Dark Sky Films have presented a solid slate of extras for Deathgasm including a solid commentary track with the director, an interview with the director, a featurette that shines a light on the cast, a short FX documentary, a music video by Bulletbelt, and trailers for the film.

 

Overall

   I didn't expect much doing into Deathgasm, as new horror rarely does it for me, but Deathgasm certainly kept me entertained with it's mix of old-school splatter and METAL! The Blu-ray looks quite good, but as a newer production that should be expected, and sounds great. It comes with a decent slate of extras, and is certainly HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.