Deathgasm Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Milo Cawthorne, James Blake, Kimberley Crossman, Sam Berkley
  • Director: Jason Lei Howden
  • Format: Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Dark Sky Films
  • Release Date: January 5, 2016
  • Run Time: 86 minutes



            If you had no knowledge of heavy metal music prior to watching Deathgasm, you might assume that it is all demon-obsession and the raging of sophomoric teenage hormones from this blood-soaked horror comedy. The concept is far from original, with only a small shift in the music choices of the main characters. In fact, the outcasts fighting demons caused by their interest/hobby is a narrative which has been used before, including Knights of Badassdom taking a similar approach with the use of live action role playing or boy scouts in Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Appreciation of metal music is not necessarily required for enjoyment of Deathgasm, because it is secondary to the use of generic horror elements.


            This low-budget horror film may be from New Zealand, but the first act attempts to speak for outcast metal fans living in suburbs across the world. Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) feels like an outsider amongst the blonde and beautiful jocks and cheerleaders at the top of his high school social ladder, until he meets Zakk (James Blake) at a local record shop. There are no explanations for the small town having a record shop dedicated to metal when it appears there are only two fans to browse the selections, not to mention how Zakk and Brodie never encounter each other at school, but these are small details of logic that Deathgasm is rarely interested in.


            Deathgasm rarely slows down for common sense or logic, far more interested in fast-paced editing and sophomorically sexist humor to keep the narrative moving until the carnage can begin. Brodie and Zakk decide to start their own metal band, breaking into the home of a local metal legend to steal a piece of sheet music with rumors of demonic powers. After playing song in their garage, the high school kids discover that they have accidentally unleashed an ancient evil known as Aeloth The Blind One, causing all of the locals to become zombie-like demons. The resulting carnage quickly falls into the same category as The Evil Dead franchise (or any number of New Zealand horror comedies, including Black Sheep and Jackson’s own zombie flick, Dead Alive; a.k.a. Braindead), combining demon-driven bloodlust with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.


              Most notable of the horror aspects in the filmmaking process is the practical effects that writer-director Jason Lei Howden chooses to use over CGI. This is clearly due to Howden’s primary experience working for Weta Digital, the special effects house created by Peter Jackson in New Zealand. The effects are effectively grotesque, though this does not always serve the narrative so much as indulge the desire to fill the film with as many bloody gags as possible. In the end, the storyline feels rather perfunctory, merely passing time in-between gory battles and the objectification of beautiful young women. Deathgasm isn’t so much a film for metalheads as it is one for 15-year-old boys longing to see blood and the occasional breast.


            The Blu-ray release highlights the fast-paced visual excess of the film, just in case you need extra detail in your cinematic carnage. The high definition disc also includes a surprisingly comprehensive collection of special features, from the commentary track by Howden to an assortment of making-of featurettes. There is also a music video from Bulletbelt, as well the film’s various trailers.


    Entertainment Value: 7/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10

    Historical Significance:  5/10

    Special Features: 7/10

    Follow Real Movie News on Facebook and Twitter  


    No comments: