The name of this film hints at two things: it’s not for the faint-hearted and is most likely going to be absolutely insane. I can confirm Deathgasm certainly lives up to its title. This indie horror-comedy, from New Zealand, is about young metalhead Brody and his friends as they attempt to stop a force of demons from taking over the world. That is, after they’ve unleashed them through a magical piece of music that they find in a seemingly deserted house. Still with me?
A huge part of Deathgasm is the music. There is a lot of heavy metal in this film and it certainly fits the tone by keeping the energy and the audience going through the destruction and decimation. The title itself is actually the name of the band formed by Brody and his friends, who also play an integral part in the story. If you are a fan of classic metal there is definitely something to enjoy in Deathgasm . There are subtle references and jokes about bands, or the genre itself, throughout the entire run-time. However, if you’re not a fan of metal as a genre, there are references to other classic musicians and even a ‘Rick-roll’ joke at one point.
As a comedy, this film works. It seems self-aware of the ridiculousness of its premise, and takes full advantage of this. The humour is dark in places, edgier in others, and sometimes just plain fun and grotesque. The first half contains more quick-witted comedy. As the film progresses, there is a shift in focus from visual ‘Edgar Wright-esque’ comedy, to a more shameless ‘dumb fun’ approach. Smashing demons heads in with dildos is amusing for a while, but the humour in the second half starts to drag, and becomes less enjoyable by the minute.
As a horror, the film has some issues. Tonally, it’s difficult to manage suspense and fear with laugh-out-loud moments. The thing that works for Deathgasm is definitely the latter, as this film is by no means scary – at all. Yes, there is lots of blood, yes, there is lots of violence, and yes, there are demons – but none of these are truly terrifying. You get the sense that the only reason it’s attached to horror is because of the violence and gore, both of which aren’t scary, despite the quality of practical effects elevating the material. Although it’s easy to call this film a ‘splatter fest,’ the humour and energy of the keep the audience glued to the action for longer than most films of this genre.
“As a comedy, this film works. It seems self-aware of the ridiculousness of its premise, and takes full advantage”
It’s clear to see Deathgasm aims to be a fun genre movie that can be watch with friends on Halloween and, for the most part, it succeeds. However, the main problem is its pacing. The first half is not only funnier, but also more interesting, and considering the second half is about demons taking over the world, this is a problem. The latter half is by no means bad, it’s just painfully average in comparison to the first. The gore is fitting but it goes on for too long, the jokes are less clever and less frequent and the story doesn’t add up to much.
Overall, Deathgasm is a fun movie with some good humour. I don’t have the desire to re-visit it anytime soon, but if someone was to host a Halloween film night, I wouldn’t refuse. It doesn’t aim to be an outstanding piece of film-making, but Deathgasm is definitely a good time.