Little Deaths (UK - DVD R2)
Marcus watches three little deaths and wonders what's wrong with people??
Little Deaths is an anthology of three British horror shorts that deal with the themes of sex and death. All three are extreme in their own ways and provide ninety minutes of gruesome horror tales about life in Britain and what goes on behind closed doors.
House and Home
A married couple get their kicks by inviting homeless people into their home. When the latest street girl Sorrow enters their luxury home for a bath and a meal we begin to see the dark fantasies the couple like to play out with their guests, only this time Sorrow may be more than they bargained for.
Recovering addict Jen goes to see a doctor and after being prescribed a new drug that's taken from a mutant's *ahem* 'tool' (yes that *ahem* means his penis), she begins to see visions and her experience begins to affect the very mutant that 'produced' the medication that she's on.
Claire has anger management issues and her boyfriend Pete is on the brunt end of it. In their home the pair have a secret red room and within it Pete takes on the role as Claire's dog and sex slave. Pete begins to struggle with his situation and when he begins to become the aggressive member of the couple it begins to turn Claire on but not enough to satisfy her. Soon Pete begins to lose control of his ability deal with Claire's antics and decides to take revenge on her.
As with most anthologies, these short stories feel more like the set up of a joke than film plot. All three tales are about building up to a punchline (or multiple punchlines) and each of those punchlines are all pretty gnarly. All three stories in Little Deaths relies on shock value to make the tales feel icky and each one delivers on WTF reveals in pretty gruesome ways. I would do the anthology a disservice to give those moments away here but I will say that I found Bitch the best of the three overall, Mutant Tool was the most out there and House and Home had a pretty great twist in an already messed up story but sadly ran out of time to really deliver on the goods.
Across the first two shorts, skin tones run incredibly pink and sometimes slip closer to red in low lighting. That said the entire anthology plays in shadows and low lit sets very well beyond that. Black levels are always solid and it’s really only the soft edges of DVD that lets the presentation down. The interior scenes are generally warm with bold colours and presents a modern looking British home in quite a natural way.
House and Home has plenty of lamps and closed curtains and has the most modern look of the three shorts but across exterior scenes in the first two shorts offer up a more natural look and shows much better detail when it comes to textures. Faces can sometimes look a bit blasted with light but again, the visuals play quite naturally within their modern cameras.
Bitch is the most visually experimental of the shorts and plays by different rules. Opting for a neon blue colouring to the visuals, this blasts out any natural looks the suburban story might offer without it. The darker scenes can be full of digital noise and outside of the odd bit of red lighting in a certain room everything sticks to its blue looks.
The stereo track is essentially just dialogue with the minimal amount of score. General everyday sounds sit well in the mix but there’s very little going on here beyond the bare basics. Really the most dynamic this gets is layers or the use of sound off camera. Screams, growling dogs, drips and scrapes elevate this pretty basic stereo track from time to time but it’s never really anything to get excited about.
The disc opens with the chaotic and manic looking The ABC's of Death.
'Behind the Scenes' (22:33) has the three directors talking about their stories and the themes of sex and death. The trio talk of the origins of the anthology and the evolution of their gruesome tales. All the stories are horrors that cross the line and the writers/directors talk up their approach and why they've created the shorts they have.
The directors commentary is really an extension of that and its quite a fun listen as they talk about what we’re seeing on screen gets to the nasty bits.
Lastly there’s a trailer and a selection of trailers from other Monster Pictures films.
I don’t really like many horror anthologies (or anthologies in general really) and Little Deaths doesn't really change that, even though the British production somehow makes it feel a little more real world than the some of the stuff that comes out of the US. Make no mistake each of these stories are pushing a few boundaries but beyond maybe Bitch which has a stronger dramatic core, it’s all quite immature with stuff to make a teenage boy laugh along with as opposed to anything that plays on your mind. The disc looks okay, sounds okay and comes with an acceptable splattering of extras, so those fancying a stomach turning night in with some easy to swallow horror might want to consider this one. (Wish I hadn't used the world "swallow", it made me think of the events in Mutant Tool
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 18 years and over
Release Date: 12th August 2013
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 English
Extras: Commentary, Behind the Scenes, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Sean Hogan, Simon Rumley, Andrew Parkinson
Cast: Jason Maza, Daniel Brocklebank, Luke De Lacey
Length: 90 minutes
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