Living Death (DVD)
Directed by Erin Berry
Distributed by Genius Products
Rich people. They can be bat shit insane and it's easy to understand why -- Everything is handed to them. While this may sound like a dream to most, I'm willing to bet that when you have nothing left to strive for, situations can get really hairy. Strap in, kids, as it is time once again for your old Uncle Creepy to walk you through another insightful edition of Lifestyles of the Rich and Fuckin' Nuts.
Meet Victor (Bryk). He's just your average everyday wealthy playboy whose got it all. Great house, money to burn, and a taste for the macabre. You see, Victor only feels truly alive when he is demeaning others. This leads him to a very nasty hobby of investing his time and money into procuring vintage medieval torture devices. Of course this strange obsession ends up going hand-in-hand with his sex life, and what an odd life it is.
Victor blatantly cheats on his wife (Swanson) with anyone he can lure into his chamber. Of course, his significant other eventually gets tired of her husband's sadistic ways and does what any wife in her situation would do -- plot her hubby's death with his best friend so that they may freely screw their hearts out on his dime for the rest of their lives. Joy!
Their plan is simple: Get their hands on a lethal drug, poison Victor (who incidentally had signed a clause in his will stating that under no circumstances was he to be autopsied) with it, and then live happily ever after. Everything goes according to plan except for one tiny detail -- The designer drug chosen for Victor to overdose on has an unanticipated side effect; instead of killing the user, it simply renders him in a state of suspended animation. In short, while all signs point to dead-as-a-doornail, the victim is very much aware of what is going on.
Despite the no autopsy clause in his will, the medical examiner, suspecting foul play, decides to get a court order of his own that will allow him to perform the procedure. Needless to say while Victor's laying there on the slab, he's getting more and more pissed off. Eventually, the shock of being poked and groped jars him from his coma, and our newly living madman sets out for revenge.
Truth be told, Living Death surprised me. Although there were quite a few moments of been there, done that type shenanigans, the film manages to rise above mediocrity periodically. While the acting is way above par and the movie was shot really well, it's the violence that will keep you watching. While not in abundance (please ignore the ever-so-cliche UNRATED moniker that's pasted across the box; this is far from a splatter-fest), the red stuff is gooey where it needs to be and will provide at least a few uncomfortable moments for the folks along for the ride.
There really isn't a lot to complain about until ... well ... until the last two minutes of the film. Things are moving along just fine until --whammo-- we're treated to what feels like an extremely tacked on ending. Within the blink of an eye things go from heinous torture scene to tidy resolve. I sat there scratching my head wondering if they just ran out of time or money. The ending of a movie can sometimes make or break the experience as a whole. Without giving anything away, you're sure to find this one amusing, yet semi-broken.
After the near deal-breaker of a final act, you can then head on over to the disc's special features, where you will find nothing more than a making-of featurette in which the stars and the crew break down the film for you as best as they can for about twenty minutes. Again that been there, done that feeling will begin to set in, only in this instance there's nothing to save it from mediocrity.
All in all, Living Death is a nasty little ride that is never as perverse as it would like to be. It's better than most direct-to-video fodder, but is that really saying much? If you can catch it on cable, watch it, reminisce about the cool parts, and then forget it.
2 1/2 out of 5
1 out of 5
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