I went into A Horrible Way to Die knowing nothing about it. I didn’t know the plot, what sub-genre of horror it is or that several actors from You’re Next appear in it. I had no pre-film thoughts about it. An hour and a half later, I still don’t have many thoughts on it. The movie is about Sarah, a recovering alcoholic trying to start a new life after discovering her boyfriend is a serial killer. Unbeknownst to her, Garrick escapes prison and picks up where he left off. A Horrible Way to Die, released in 2010, is an independent horror and I certainly admire that. A simple, well-paced indie horror without all the glitz and glamor of a blockbuster can be great, but this movie wasn’t. It was incredibly slow, often confusing and devoid of suspense.
A Horrible Way to Die left me bored. I was bored throughout and bored when it ended. A twist ending couldn’t even save it. At that point, it seemed like a twist for twist’s sake. Not a lot happens throughout the movie and the pace is snail-like. The dialogue is awkward and strained; in fact, all of Sarah’s interactions with people are awkward. I realize she’s recovering from several traumas and awkwardness is a result of that, but it was just painful to watch. The movie utilizes a non-chronological narrative that doesn’t quite work. It leads to more confusion than interest and I wound up frustrated. Nothing exciting or eventful occurs during the movie and even the ending seemed a little silly. It also lacks suspense or build up, leaving the viewer caring little about how the story ends. There’s definitely blood and some gore, but it’s not enough to make this movie scary or frightening. Instead, it’s just boring and awkward.
The good news for some of these actors is they go on to appear in You’re Next, which is an amazing example of independent horror. It has everything this film lacks and then some. A Horrible Way to Die was horrible to watch, but not in the oh-my-god-this-movie-is-so-terrifying-I-can’t-watch-it kind of way. I doubt I’ll think much of the film in the weeks to come, so you might want to skip it. Horror island creatures beware… of… boredom.
If you liked A Horrible Way to Die, you might also like You're Next, The Last House on the Left and The Last House on the Left (2009).