Writer/director Daniel Stamm originally released A Necessary Death in 2008. No one paid much attention. In 2010 his The Last Exorcism got a major release and mixed reviews but people noticed. Now Stamm has rereleased A Necessary Death on DVD. He contacted me a couple of weeks ago and asked me to give it a view and a review.
So I did and I am.
The film stars a decent cast of no-name young actors and like The Last Exorcism this one is done in mock documentary style. Gilbert is a film student looking for someone intent on committing suicide. A craigslist ad produces Matt, a young man who has an inoperable tumor that will lead to a horrible death. Matt has decided to cheat death and do it himself.
Gilbert’s friends Valerie, Michael and Daniel — who just happens to be “the” Daniel directing this movie — film his last days from the planning to the end.
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Stamm’s idea is a good one. The cast rolls through interesting debates on the ethics of filming the man’s death, the legalities involved and a host of other intricate topics. How should he do it? Poison? Hanging? Throw himself from a cliff? A tall building? Blow his brains out?
The man’s mom doesn’t know. Should she? His sister does. Should she tell the mom? The sister objects but goes along with the plan. Should she? Should the students?
There are complications. Everybody likes Matt. Gilbert and Matt become best friends. Does Matt really want to watch him die? Does the group? Valerie and Gilbert used to be an item. She’s against the whole idea but because of loyalty, friendship and out of love, Valerie goes along. Matt likes Valerie. He’s going to die, should she like him back?
Much of the movie appears to be ad-libbed. Kind of like Stamm said, here’s the situation, see what you can do to keep it natural kind of scenes. And the actors do.
Stamm’s film ebbs and flows. While never really taking off and getting to nail-chewing territory, it does move quickly and takes a number of interesting twists.
I’m not a huge fan of the hand-held camera genre. Nor do I find mock-documentaries that appealing either. Once in awhile one comes along that is at least semi-interesting.
A Necessary Death is one of them.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Director/writer: Daniel Stamm
Stars: Gilbert John, Matt Tilley, Valerie Hurt, Michael Traynor, Konima Parkinson-Jones
You can find Stamm’s film on DVD at Amazon or Blockbuster, VOD on iTunes and several other sites, or you can get it at www.anecessarydeath.com
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.