Death on Demand

Year: 2008
Director: Adam Matalon
Cast: Brandon Goins, Bridget Megan Clark, Elisabeth Jamison, Hilary Greer

Three college-aged couples are promised $5000 if they spend the night in a supposedly haunted house, where years earlier, a renowned mountain climber murdered his entirely family on Thanksgiving Day before doing himself in. The catch--their entire night will be broadcast over the Internet via strategically placed webcams. The group's first decided upon task is to hold a seance, which results in the spirit of the deranged mountain killer materializing, and he is none to happy about the intruders in his home. Armed with his trusty mountain climbing hook, be begins stalking and slaughtering the teens one by one.

"Death on Demand" certainly wins no points for originality, as fans of the genre will immediately be reminded of "Halloween: Resurrection," as well as some obscure entries into the genre such as "Dead Dudes in the House," and the more recently DTV release "The Slaughter." Still, that is not this films worst problem, as many slasher films have clichéd plots that they are able to rise above. First, the acting is atrocious, and though there are a few attractive cast members, none of the can act to save their lives. There is one particular character-Brad (Brandon Goins)-who is great to look at, particularly during his sex scene, but is one of the most annoying characters I have ever witnessed in a horror film and the actor portraying him is...well.....not very good. In fact, there isn't one likable character in the whole movie, so when they do begin to die, we could care less. The whole premise of the film is based on the fact that the events are being broadcast over the web, but when the killing starts, that whole plot element is forgotten. Nobody anywhere watching the webcast apparently views the teens being viciously butchered, but only minutes before could see the sex that seems to happen every five minutes in the film. Basically, clichés abound the plot and not an original bone is to be found in this film, except perhaps the weapon of choice of the killer. Even the ending, which the writer probably thought was oh-so-clever, has been done before in many films (see the ones I mentioned above) and could be seen coming two miles away.

The film does look good, though. It doesn't have the cheap look that so many DTV's have and the lighting is actually adequate during the dark scenes. Also, the gore effects are pretty decent and there are some nasty kills that would have been much more effective had the character being murdered been likable. Once the seance is held, the pace of the film picks up. I wasn't bored, per se, and actually smiled a few times because, despite its countless flaws, the film does manage some flashes of good film-making that reminded me of the glory days of the 80' slasher flicks. Bottom line is I didn't hate this film. Sure, I cringed at the acting and dialogue a few times, but when it was over and done with, I wasn't angry or upset or felt that I wasted my time. I have come to not over-estimate expectations of a DTV slasher and this one had a certain charm, albeit its cheesiness, and I definitely don't count it among the worst I have seen recently.

Fright Meter Grade:

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