SFF ’15 REVIEW: Deathgasm (Jason Lei Howden)

by Jason Suzuki

The film I thought of when watching Deathgasm, a metal in spirit and content horror comedy from New Zealand, is Joseph Kahn’s Detention (2011), in which the ADHD generation is spoofed in a way in which the ADHD can understand. This might be unfair to Howden’s film as Detention is a masterful barrage of sight gags and insanely quick simultaneous layers of smart dialogue. Deathgasm does just that just without the clusterfuck of genres, Deathgasm is through and through a film in which metal runs through its veins. It combines an understanding for the therapeutic powers of metal music with the alarmist view of metal that it is devil music for troubled outcasts. The metalheads in this film are sweet and run the gamut from dice wielding role players to collectors of fine metal vinyl. Our lead Brodie (Milo Cawthorne) resembles a young Weird Al in both long slender face, wavy hair, and a goofy likability. Brodie is the new kid in a small town after having to movie in with his Christian aunt and uncle. His cousin finds the time to pick on Brodie and his friends. After meeting fellow metal fan Zakk (James Blake), Brodie and him start their own band Deathgasm. They summon an evil force once they find some sheet music that is entwined with black magic.

From the get go the film comes at you with kick ass music and visuals to match. It’s quick and clever, using any trick they can within the medium of film to keep up the pace and kick the audience’s ass, even if it means grabbing the camera that’s too slow to follow the film’s sharp back and forth between characters (one of my new favorite movie moments). Because of the high standard of hard rock pacing the film delivers form the start, any dip in speed, regardless of how short it may last, is definitely noticeable. Still, it’s hard to find fault in a movie that delivers a lot of fun and has a heart without resorting to any sort of maudlin moments disguised by the film’s metal focus.

Jason Suzuki is co-editor to Cinema Adrift.