Acts of Death (DVD)
Directed by Jeff Burton
Distributed by Lionsgate
"Rehearsals can be a killer! Baxter University's theater group has a secret club that "initiates" young freshmen girls. When one initiation gets out of hand, a beautiful actress dies a tragic and horrific death. Too scared to confess their crime, the group tries to get away with the murder. But the next night, when the group stays late for rehearsal, it becomes apparent that someone wants them to pay for their actions. How many will die before the final curtain comes down on these killers?"
That doesn't sound like every other college/high school horror film out there, does it? This doesn't mean the formula can't be made fresh, but you need a few simple things: talent, money and talent. Yes, you need a lot of talent, even more than money actually. We've seen short films with no budget blow holes in major motion pictures just because the little guy had a bucket of skill. Acts of Death isn't as lucky.
The mystery of who is offing the theatre troupe relies on a huge third act plot twist. The audience has to suffer through cheap deaths, stale camera work and the most unconvincing set of actors playing actors to ever be captured on film only to find out that it was some dude and his long lost half sister the whole time? If I remember properly we hardly get to know any of these characters well enough to be surprised by this sort of sudden revelation.
Speaking of surprises, guess what over-used low-budget crux makes its way into this film! Rape! Yeah! Does almost every single indie flick we get nowadays have to contain forced sexual intercourse in some fashion? Listen kids, you may think it's edgy, but if it doesn't work for Ulli Lommel it sure as shit isn't going to work for you.
However, when the filmmakers did get something that would really help them out they squander it. There is literally nothing to remember about this film except for one thing: Glenn Shadix showed up. Yes, The Glenn "Otho" Shadix! What is he doing here? The man's career may not be glittering, but he has more talent in one vocal chord than the combined bodies of the entire cast.
Before you go thinking that his presence saves the movie, it doesn't. He is quickly killed off and we're back to the lackluster cast of nobodies trying to solve a mystery none of the viewers care about. Shame, because the entire movie could have been Shadix taking a large #2 and the entertainment value would have sky rocketed.
Odds are there are horror fans out there that glanced at this on the shelf and passed it by. Good. There's no reason to pick this up, even if you are fan of Glenn Shadix. In all honesty it would be a better experience to pick up Scream 3 or even AVP. Why? Well, those are easier on the eye and have the most minimal of entertainment value. Do you get that with Acts of Death? No.
Yawn. Thanks Lionsgate. Acts of Death was the perfect way to cure my sleepless nights. We should do this more often.
1/2 out of 5
Discuss other fallen careers in the Dread Central forums!