Jason Lei Howden's debut is a wickedly entertaining and seriously bloody little treat for horror fans everywhere. Peter Jackson would be proud.
Aside from Weta and the whole Lord of the Rings legacy, New Zealand’s impact on the film world has been sadly mighty quiet, despite the country happily producing some of cinema’s most daring and hilarious dark comedies, seemingly in secret. From Peter Jackson’s early 90s Braindead to the more recent Black Sheep and Housebound, for a tiny island, they certainly know their way around a mangled corpse or two.
The newest of this eclectic bunch, is visual effects man Jason Lei Howden’s directorial debut, Deathgasm, a roaringly funny and mighty disgusting new stab that finds a group of young metal-heads facing off against an army of possessed locals, after accidentally springing a demon plague upon their sleepy suburb.
Howden happily tows the ‘cheap-and-cheerful’ party line, delivering a wickedly entertaining and sensationally over-the-top crowd-pleaser packed full of clever storytelling and gallons of fake-blood. It’s easy to see how this one did so well at last year’s FrightFest; Howden has mastered a tone that walks gallantly between comedy and horror, never over-embellishing either and delivering a film that’s hugely fun and creative in its set-pieces.
Deathgasm may be a little slow on the up-take at times – its rather standard teen movie-style opening drags a little too long – and its finale does sadly fall a tad too short, but there’s enough genuinely new material here to keep things happily chugging along in-between. Howden always plays to his strengths and in the end, delivers an impressive little NZ treat. I mean, where else are you likely to see a teenage boy brutally murder his own possessed aunt with a pair of malfunctioning vibrators?
Deathgasm (2015), directed by Jason Lei Howden, is released in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray by Studiocanal. Certificate 15.