Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Phoenix ’17: Game of Death
is sort of like Hungry Hungry Hippos, but it craves human deaths instead of
marbles—twenty-four of them, to be precise. If players start slacking off, the
game will claim one of them, Scanners style.
Things will most definitely get bloody in Sébastien Landry & Laurence “Baz”
Morais’s Game of Death (trailer here), which screens
during the 2017 Phoenix Film Festival.
someone notices a mysterious looking retro board game they never knew they had
lurking in the corner of their home, do yourself a favor and don’t play. The
rules are vague, but this group of entitled suburban horndogs and party-girls
will quickly figure it out. Basically, it is kill or be killed, until the digital
counter finally clicks down to zero.
some players adapt more readily than others. Somewhat logically, the socially awkward
Tom takes to the game almost immediately, whereas their coke dealer Tyler is
the most reluctant to kill. Frankly, aside from those two, the soulless teen
meat for the grinder largely runs together, but fortunately the blood
splattering gets pretty impressive.
the gist of Game of Death (not to be
confused with the ill-fated Bruce Lee vehicle) sounds familiar than perhaps you
read a similarly themed story in The
Saturday Evening Post or Readers’
Digest. There are also scores of exploitation movies that put their casts
in kill-or-be-killed situations, including but not limited to Battle Royale, 31, Raze, and Paintball. However, it is probably the
best of the pseudo-sub-genre since Kill ‘Em All, because Landry & Morais never bring us down by putting likable,
undeserving characters in ultra-Hunger Games
positions (granted, there are some innocent victims, but this is a horror
movie after all). Instead, after fifteen minutes, we’re pretty okay with the
prospect of the primary cast meeting violent ends, one by one.
is not as cleverly nostalgic as Beyond the Gate, but the old school
solid-state design of the game itself looks spot-on. The retro animated
interludes are also pretty cool. However, the real appeal of the film is its shamelessly
over-the-top comedic gore. It clocks in under seventy-five minutes, but regular
midnight movie patrons will still feel they got their money’s worth.
Recommended for fans of horror in the vein of EC Comics and general
unconstrained mayhem, Game of Death screens
this Friday (4/7) and the following Wednesday (4/12) as part of this year's
Phoenix Film Festival.
Labels: Horror Movies, Phoenix '17