Stars: Amy Joyce Hastings, Luke de Lacey, Kate Braithwaite, Tom Sawyer, Jodie Jameson | Written and Directed by Sean Hogan, Simon Rumley, Andrew Parkinson
The anthology has a rich history in British film, from TV dramas such as Armchair Theatre and Hammer’s House of Horror to the classic Amicus anthologies such as Tales From the Crypt and From Beyond the Grave, in more recent years America has become home to the anthology greats (think Creepshow, The ABCs of Death and the excellent Trick r Treat). But now the UK are striking back with the portmanteau film Little Deaths.
A three part anthology directed by three of the UK’s most promising filmmakers – Andrew Parkinson (I, Zombie), Sean Hogan (Isle of Dogs) and Simon Rumley (Red White & Blue), Little Deaths tells three stories of sex and death, pushing the envelope of what “love” means in modern society…
The film opens with House & Home from Sean Hogan – a tale of two married religious, do-gooding suburbanites who lure the homeless to their house, feed them, bathe them, then have their way nasty little way with them! Only this time the couple choose the wrong victim and pay the ultimate price. Where to start with House & Home… Well the story is derivative, stereotypical and utterly predictable and is thoroughly let down by flat direction and what looked to be an unfinished production. Essentially a morality play, the film has THE most heavy handed conclusion that seemed to make a mockery of the UK homeless problem – yes folks the homeless are feral, literally. And no that’s not a spoiler, if you hadn’t guessed what was going to happen within the first 15 minutes then you’re either: a) a moron, or b) don’t watch horror movies.
So far so not good and Andrew Parkinson’s short, Mutant Tool, did nothing to raise my hopes for the film. A literal take on the title, Mutant Tool features the titular genetic freak of a penis, the subject of Nazi experiments during WW2, being used as the basis of a new pharmaceutical drug – yes folks, lets all take psychotropic drugs made from the sperm from a mutant penis! Wow. The only thing I can say about Parkinson’s portion of Little Deaths is WTF! Seemingly written as a laugh, the film has no redeemable qualities to speak off, with wooden acting, ridiculous story and cliched script all combining to make a truly forgettable (well apart from the giant penis) short film.
We’re now two for two on terrible stories, so all hope rests on Simon Rumley and his short, Bitch. A S&M nightmare, the short tells the story of Claire and Pete, a couple whose relationship is built on power and a weird sexual game of woman meets dog – no doubt inspired by Claire’s inherent fear of the four-legged beasts… Sick, twisted and truly satisfying, Bitch saves Little Deaths from abject failure thanks to some great acting from Tom Sawyer as Pete and a cracking conclusion that satiates the audiences need for some real revenge on the dominant Claire. It also helped that Bitch was the least predictable of the three films and featured a denouement that left the audience to use their imagination for once.
Sadly not an altogether successful anthology, Little Deaths suffers from cliche, predictablility and a lack of coherence to the overall film and is saved only by Simon Rumley’s short. Worth catching on TV, but not an essential purchase.
Little Deaths is released on DVD, courtesy of Monster Pictures, on August 12th.