2004 - 82 Minutes/Fullscreen
Directed By Arch Stanton
VHS Screener Provided by Alex Petrosian
Okay, before we get into the actual review, I have a few things to go over here. On initial viewing of DEATHUMENTARY, I found a film that was pretty good. When I checked the tape listings, all I had was the title and the running time of the flick. I went back to the flick and got some more info. You know, the director's name and the main cast. After that, I decided to go to the Internet to see what I could find. Because, as I said, I liked the movie. But there was nothing there about the movie. A big fat zero in the massive world of the Internet. I decided to check out the director, Arch Stanton, and see what I could find out. Imagine my surprise when I found that it was an alias for Jim Wynorski. Jim has done some stuff directly on video before, so it wasn't a stretch to think it could have been him. Then I found the note that accompanied the film. It was written by an Alex Petrosian. Now why would someone use an old Jim Wynorski alias for their project, especially when it’s being submitted to festivals? There was an email address, so I decided to contact the director via email. No response. This put my bullshit antenna up at this point. Why wouldn't someone playing their flicks at festivals admit to making this film? After all this footwork, I came to a decision: This is a Jim Wynorski film. I have no idea why he wouldn't put his name on it. Probably because there are no tits in it. Maybe he wanted a film festival audience to see it first. Whatever the reason, it is a good movie. Let's get into it shall we?
DEATHUMENTARY chronicles the teenage angst of Danny (Ryan Thomas Johnson). He is one of the geeky, high-tech losers at high school. Danny is madly in love with one of the most popular girls in school and has a habit of ticking off the school bully at every turn. His buddy Vince (Jessie Patrick) is always there for a really bad idea and his friend Lily (Emily Sinclair) is one hot girl who is madly in love with Danny. Of course, he can't see this, being all wrapped up in his teenage angst, the popular girl, and all. His life is pretty aimless. That is, until he videotapes the shop teacher giving a power tool demonstration.
The demonstration goes horribly wrong and the teacher ends up minus a limb and his life. Of course, it has all been captured on videotape. Enter video entrepreneur Seymour (Leland Crooke). He makes a fortune on a series of FACES OF DEATH rip offs and Danny's footage is just what his next instalment needs. Danny has no problem selling the footage and it is then when he comes up with a brainstorm. There are people in his life that make him miserable. Why not whack them and get it on tape? That way he gets rid of all the pains in his ass and makes some cash on the side. Sounds like a good idea. Right? It doesn't take long before the cops catch on to what is going on and Danny becomes a hunted man. Seymour has a plan to get the last of Danny's footage and then make it look like the kid went over the edge. A little self-defense and making sure it's all captured on video for the world to see, and Seymour has the ultimate instalment of his series. Unfortunately, Danny is a bright boy and has other ideas.
DEATHUMENTARY is a wonderful film. It is played a little tongue in cheek. Sure, it has the gore of a slasher flick, but it also has the hi-jinks of a high school comedy. Couple that with the general derision towards those FACES OF DEATH types of Mondo Mockumentary Entertainment and the moment where Danny is actually talking to us while his friend Vince is left clueless, and you've got cinema worthy of cult status. Sure, it's shot on video but so many projects are nowadays, which means it takes a great story to rise above the medium. DEATHUMENTARY is one of those movies. The acting is above average, while the camera set-ups and editing are both competent. This is another reason that I suspect that it's a Jim Wynorski flick.
As I mentioned before, there is nothing about this production anywhere. It seems like a lost film that someone is ashamed of. I hope not, because this is a real good time and I would recommend it to any true fan of the genre. It isn't often we get smart filmmaking on a slim budget.