SXSW ’11 – Little Deaths – Review


A horror anthology for die hard horror fans only

Little Deaths is a horror anthology that will only appeal to the most loyal of horror fans. If you’ve been giddy at the sight of any film that has screened at Fantastic Fest. If you love you some Eli Roth. If cringing in disgust equals giddy squeals of delight, then these three short films about sex and death from directors Sean Hogan (Lie Still/The Haunting of #24), Andrew Parkinson (I, Zombie), and Simon Rumley (Red, White, and Blue) were made for you.

In the first short, “House and Home” by Sean Hogan, upper class married couple with a seemingly perfect life. They have a lovely home, a cordial relationship, but they have an odd hobby : they enjoy picking up homeless women and sexually torturing them. Their biggest mistake may be their latest victim, a woman who isn’t as helpless as she looks.

In “Mutant Tool”, a former prostitute and her former pimp/current boyfriend seek help to finally rid her of her cocaine habit, and they end up seeking help from Dr. Reece who prescribes her an unknown pill that has no known side effects. But she soon begins to experience hallucinations that may or may not link her to a creature chained in a basement with a…well, with a mutant tool. The reasoning behind all of this is unclear in Parkinson’s entry, it’s more of a mind trip mixed with images intended for shock value.

The final short, Rumley’s “Bitch”, was my personal favorite of the three. In it, a couple has a seemingly normal everyday marriage but is hiding a very aggressive dominant/submissive sexual relationship. When the man tires of being dominated to humiliating proportions, he begins plotting his revenge. The result is a long sequence completely devoid of any dialogue. The score, composed by Richard Chester, gradually builds during the 9 minute revenge scene, adding an element of beauty to the otherwise horrifying action taking place.

All three shorts are gruesome on their own, and watching them back to back is not for the squeamish. Sex and death are the main themes that tie them together, but there is much more going on. As with many horror films, the sexual fetishes come from the females as a crucial part of their satisfaction; but then also as with many horror films, the women are the ones who are ultimately victimized for it.

With “House and Home” being the most generic, and “Mutant Tool” the one going for shock value, the quality of the short films increases as Little Deaths goes along. “Bitch” is the strongest, most thought provoking of the three, and the one that left the most lasting impression. With work from such promising directors, for horror fans – especially anthology horror fans – Little Deaths is a film to seek out.

Director: Sean Hogan “House and Home”, Andrew Parkinson “Mutant Tool”, Simon Rumley “Bitch”
Notable Cast: Luke de Lacey, Kate Braithewaite, Brendan Gregory, Siubhan Harrison
Writer(s): Sean Hogan “House and Home”, Andrew Parkinson “Mutant Tool, Simon Rumley “Bitch

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