GAME OF DEATH (2017)
Directed by Sebastien Landry, Laurence Morais-Lagace
Written by Sebastien Landry, Laurence Morais-Lagace, Edouard H. Bond, Philip Kalin-Hajdu
Starring Sam Earle, Victoria Diamond, Emelia Hellman, Catherine Saindon, Erniel Baez, Nick Serino , Thomas Vallieres, Jane Hackett, Steve Godin, Neve Leblanc, Natalie Darbyson, Alex Stines, Ruth Chiang, Leslie Baker, Bill Corday, Francis B. Goldberg, Jean Drolet, Annie Carignan, Michael Douglas Cake, Donny Falsetti
Find out more about this film here!!
No this is not a kung fu remake of the Bruce Lee classic. I wasn’t expecting that
I was expecting a clone of THE HUNT for some reason when began watching GAME OF DEATH, but the film really has more in common with cursed board game films like the OUIJA movies and with equal helpings of IT FOLLOWS, KIDS, and FUNNY GAMES tossed in. While both THE HUNT and GAME OF DEATH are films about people forced to kill or be killed, GAME OF DEATH has a more supernatural angle and the way the film sells this angle is quirky, gory, and a hell of a good time!
A group of spoiled rich kids gather to do nothing at one of their houses but swim in the pool, drink alcohol, do drugs, have sex, and basically do any kind of hedonistic thing they want since their parents are nowhere to be found. Rifling through an old closet rewards the group with an old game that looks like a twisted version of the old SIMON light-up game. After the six of them place their fingers on the board, it stabs them and draws their blood, sealing an oath to begin the game. Now, as every twenty minutes pass, the group has to kill someone or be killed themselves until the death toll counter (set at 24) goes down to zero. Not taking is seriously, the kids laugh it off, but when one of their heads explode all over them, they realize they have to either go on a murder spree or decorate the walls with their brains.
What makes GAME OF DEATH work is how callous the kids are once they realize that in order to survive, all they have to do is kill 24 people. Sure, some of them are in shock, but the way the kids detach themselves from society’s morals really ends up being a fascinating statement about the millennial generation. Almost unfazed is the de facto leader of the group Tom, played by Sam Earle, who understands the rules of the game and has the homicidal tendencies to play them out. The cast is filled with great performances from young actors who most likely will be big names some day, but Earle stands out as the most heartless and memorable as he is more than willing to blow away anyone in his path.
What sets GAME OF DEATH apart from other films is that it uses old video game graphics for its opening scene and a few musical numbers set to bloody carnage. Co-directors Sebastien Landry and Laurence Morais-Lagace have a wicked sense of humor, highlighting the decadent lifestyle of the kids, their shallow personalities, and their reckless disregard for how much they hurt others. It’s a wonderfully vivid, yet sad social commentary on the new Millennial culture which feels as if the know better than to follow rules, rush to action, and throw caution to the wind. I feel like an old man saying that as all youthful generations seem reckless to their elders, but I think it is especially relevant with the current state of things.
Like much horror, GAME OF DEATH uses intense gore to communicate its point. Most of the cast is covered in blood and brains for the entirety of the movie. The kids don’t even think to wash themselves off and almost seem to wear the spatter as a medal of honor by the end. GAME OF DEATH never fails to be entertaining from beginning to end, reveling in the gore and high body count and ending on a note that suggests much more mayhem to come. Though some pretty heavy themes could be extracted from GAME OF DEATH, it is never boring or preachy. I highly recommend this resonant and balls out gonzo little movie. It’s got a ton to say about the latest and loudest generation and offers up no dull moments to endure. Seek out this gruesome and bawdy good time of a movie!