This movie inspires one question: Who the hell keeps a roll of toilet paper in their glove compartment?
Death4Told is a compilation of four short horror flicks in one, each with a completely overused premise. Everything in this movie has been done before and done better.
The Doll House bats lead, with a young couple renting out a house where a boy died in the attic. This is all told in dialogue completely buried under a piano-heavy soundtrack. The attempts to build suspense through close-ups and increased volume don’t work, particularly in the bar scene. To be fair, the lead actors (Brian Cade and Britt Marder) do a good job, despite the lack of convincing support. Stephen (Cade) is a writer who moves to a small town to try and clear his mind and focus on writing. He and his wife, Anne (Marder), move into the haunted house. Unless you’re terrified by a puppet standing completely still, you will remain completely unaffected after viewing this first story.
Folklore is the second story, featuring the obligatory group of teen campers. This group strikes a stuffed animal full of corn syrup and food coloring on their way to camping, which sets the tone. This group has the brainy girl, the airheaded model and the geeky girl, the opie-looking dweeb, the stoner fat guy and the supposed jock. The major plot twist occurs when jock finds an arrowhead, followed by opie finding an actual arrow in a tree. Folklore continues the fine tradition of burying dialogue under the soundtrack. The campground is, of course, on top of an Indian burial ground. Holy flying pygmy ninja albino chicken farmers, I bet you’d never heard that premise before. The shapeshifting Indians slaughter the campers, using the form of wolf puppets and even at one point, a husky. The only aspect of this short more overused than the plot devices is the tired, crappy logic that states “if it happens off-screen, the actors can’t see it either”. Anyone who gets to the end of this short will understand.
Third up is “World’s Most Haunted”. A TV crew is setting up a reality show in a building formerly used as a sanitarium where horrific things were done to the patients. Heard that one somewhere? Because the viewers may have learned how to hear dialogue through the soundtrack, Amanda (Stasia Andrews) reads a passage completely soaked in reverb. Each member of the crew gets whacked. At this point it’s not really worth discussing.
Finally, the cleanup batter is “The Psychic”, featuring Margot Kidder as the title character. Kidder almost perfectly personifies a version of “Miss Cleo”, right down to the intentionally crappy French accent. She’s a con artist, using Tarot cards to intentionally tell people what they want to hear and making a profit on it. When Marty (George Caleodis) comes to her to address the fact that he can’t get romance, things start going downhill. Marty shouldn’t be down, he sees the only nudity in the entire movie, even if it is a dream sequence.
Kidder puts in a solid performance, unraveling quickly as her only con (and way of life) starts giving her some very unexpected results. She is the high point of an otherwise forgettable film.
The sound editing on the movie is non-existent with volume jumps and inconsistencies throughout. As stated in the commentary track, a lot of scenes were re-shot later and the lighting and angles suffer for it.
Extras include trailers, director’s commentary track and a short film called “Don’t Do That!”. In it, a group of campers is terrorized by a rubber mask of a wolf. Apparently this was the basis for the Folklore short, but this was not done with any semblance of professionalism, which makes it the best story in the movie. It’s the kind of thing someone shoots over the weekend with some friends, and it’s funny as hell.
Here’s what I recommend. Grab a bottle of something strong, and every time you see something in “Death4Told” that you’ve seen done better in another film, shout the name of that film out loud and do a shot.