A Horrible Way to Die title image
, , , ,
87 min.
Release Date
A Horrible Way to Die poster

A bleak, unforgiving look at a serial killer and those left in his wake, A Horrible Way to Die adopts the perspective of Sarah, played by Amy Seimetz. She’s a three-months-sober alcoholic who works at an orthodontist’s office, and something awful happened in her past. It’s the reason she decided to stop drinking and attend regular Alcoholics Anonymous meetings; the reason she’s hesitant to start dating again; and the reason the story unfolds in a fractured, nonlinear structure, fading in and out of scenes from her numbed, fuzzy, and traumatized point of view. Although the film has earned comparisons to Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) for its willingness to engage the mind of its central murderer—Garrick Turrell, played by A. J. Bowen, who gives his character chilling humanity beneath his depraved impulses—the film is more affecting as a portrait of how far people will go to rationalize and maintain normalcy. Written by Simon Barrett and directed by Adam Wingard, the team behind You’re Next (2013) and The Guest (2014), the film features a cast of mumblegore regulars in a film that’s slow-burning and unnerving, and among their best work together.

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