Little Deaths DVD Review
Written and Directed by Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson and Simon Rumley
2011, Region 2 (PAL), 95 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 12th August 2013
Luke de Lacey as Richard Gull
Holly Lucas as Sorrow
Siubhan Harrison as Victoria Gull
Jodie Jameson as Jen
Daniel Brocklebank as Frank
Brendan Gregory as Dr. Reese
A selection box of seedy British horror films, Little Deaths certainly lives up to the crude euphemism of the title. It's a double-meaning, see: while people do indeed die over the course of the three stories, it's also an idiom for 'orgasm'.
That sense of barely concealed sleaze is the connective tissue which ties the three stories together. In House & Home, a sinister couple invite a homeless girl over for the most eventful dinner party of her life. In Mutant Tool, a former drug addict and prostitute seeks help for her afflictions while her boyfriend Frank collects a mysterious medicinal ooze from a chained up freak – the 'mutant tool' of the title – all in the name of science. Finally, Bitch sees a couple play out a series of sexual power games, while he secretly tires of his girlfriend's abusive, cheating ways. Fifty Shades of Grey this ain't. Or maybe it is, since their dominant/submissive relationship sails as dangerously close to the dire straits of abuse as that of the famous Ana and Christian Grey. Not that I have read Fifty Shades of Grey or anything. Ahem.
Gruesome, nasty and occasionally disgusting, Little Deaths is an impressive entry in the portmanteau horror film subgenre. It's a little reminiscent of V/H/S or the little-seen (but highly recommended) Necromentia, its stories being enjoyably dark and memorable. It's inherently British too, being the only horror film I can remember that sees a protagonist walk past a Greggs outlet while on his way to do his nasty business. You don't get much more British than Greggs (other than poo-ing in a field, I suppose, but we already covered that in A Field in England).
Each story, while thematically consistent, brings its own distinct flavour to the table. House & Home is the most unpleasant, its rapey vibes and grim torture scenes making it the hardest to watch. Thankfully, there's a payoff that mostly redeems it, and the following tales are a little more story orientated. The middle segment is the most oblique, with the film's least straightforward story, a 'mutant' who looks like something out of Martyrs, and Moxey from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet playing a mad scientist. My own personal favourite, however, is Bitch. Again, it's deeply unpleasant and confuses a dominant/submissive sexual relationship with an abusive one, but it has by far the best story and most gratifying twist. Of all the horrible things Little Deaths shows us, I'm glad it leaves most of its final scene to the audience's imagination.
Confident, competent and very British, Little Deaths is an impressive selection of dark and perverse films. V/H/S and The ABCs of Death may have re-popularised the portmanteau piece, but Little Deaths is the best of the recent bunch.
Video and Audio:
It's cheap and gritty, like an episode of Eastenders or Shameless. The audio is appropriately dark, save for the little ditty which plays during Bitch's final scenes. It's the most haunting five minutes of horror I've seen in years. Cute doggies though, and that beef stew looks nice.
There's a director's commentary, behind the scenes featurette and trailers. The three films are available separately on the DVD menu, should you wish to watch them individually, rather than in one go.
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