Title: Death on Demand (2008)
Director: Adam Matalon
Writer(s): Adam Matalon; Kevin Burke; Brian O’Hara (original screenplay);
The film begins with a title screen reading “EVIL TWINS” in big letters. Then a different screen appears, reading “An Evil Twins Production.” Then a third screen comes up, reading “Evil Twins.” Then “in association with Chatsby Films and WM Film Partners Limited.” I think this film may have been made by Evil Twins.
The opening credits are crap. It’s just white letters in Arial over random scenery shots, focussing on birds and water. I thought maybe one of those two things would feature in the plot. Nope! The D.P. just thought they were pretty. Audio from several news reports in multiple languages and accents is played over this. Here’s the important stuff. Ice climber Sean McIntyre (Jerry Broome) suffered a “cerebral edema causing violent hallucinatory psychosis.” This resulted in him killing his Sherpa and being shipped back to America. And not put in an asylum.
Sean is sitting at the dining room table with his mother-in-law, Ruth Gordon, and his daughters, Bridget and Daphne. It’s shot in an over-exposed, vaguely lo-fi way. I actually kind of liked it. Then I saw the way the rest of the film was shot and realized only the over-exposure was on purpose. Back in the plot, Sean Kubrick stares into space whilst hallucinating the sound of chains and thudding. His wife, Gretchen, comes in from the kitchen with the Thanksgiving turkey. She calls Sean back to reality and asks him to get the girls started whilst she gets the stuffing. Bridget hands him her plate, but he drops it. Sean grabs his head; Ruth asks if he’s okay. He replies that he’s fine, but he’s very obviously not fine. Bridget says he has a headache, and Ruth tells him to take an aspirin. Ruth is a moron.
Gretchen brings the stuffing into the room and tells Sean it’s been three months since he murdered his Sherpa, he should be over it by now. Apparently, stupidity runs in the Gordon family. Sean slaps the stuffing out of her hands. Ruth yells, “That was completely unnecessary.” Sean is hallucinating yeti noises. Gretchen asks what’s wrong so Sean emotionlessly slams her head repeatedly into the table as the kids shriek. Sean grabs the turkey knife and slices Ruth’s head off in one move. He doesn’t have super powers yet! Ruth’s head lands on the serving platter, and I burst out laughing. I’m not sure if it’s the crappy effect or the humour of her head lying next to a bowl of mashed potatoes. I’m leaning toward the crappy effect, though. Bridget and Daphne are still shrieking as they back away from their dad. The screen cuts to black.
Sean covered in blood, brings in a chair. He throws a noose over his neck and kicks the chair. Sean is not holding a doll. His neck doesn’t snap so he struggles to breath. Only he doesn’t look like he’s strangling; he looks…like he’s very much enjoying himself. Like he’s experiencing pleasure. Like he is having a good time. Orgasming. He looks like he’s having an orgasm. Back in the plot, Sean stops struggling, and his body begins to swing gently back-and-forth. Then, he opens his eyes and gasps.
A redhead woman catapults out of her bed.
At the McIntyre house, a couple of guys are putting up web cameras. I’m calling the previous scene pointless by the way. It did absolutely nothing and was about five seconds long. Back in the current scene, Richard DeNola (Dan Falcone) and Peter (Terron Jones) continue to put up web cameras about the house. The film camera zooms in slightly on one and then cuts to a bunch of leaves on a tree with a brick building in the background. This is an establishing shot of the redhead’s dorm. Darla (Elisabeth Johnson) is doing a Tarot reading when her boyfriend, Biff (Josh Folan), comes in. He reminds her she’s supposed to be researching the McIntyre house rather than doing “that fortune teller garbage.” She replies that the fortune teller garbage is important to her and it’ll help them win the contest. If you’ve seen Halloween: Resurrection, you know where this is going. They continue to be annoying jackasses until the scene ends. I really hope you guys enjoy jackasses, because they make up the entire cast.
There’s an establishing shot of the McIntyre house; it’s so interesting that I spent the entire time thinking about how pretty the sky is. Then there’s a random shot of the chimney. It exists! And is completely unimportant later. Peter is creeped out about being in the house where several murders were committed. Then he steps on some bubble wrap and freaks out. It’s so weak it’s not even a jump scare. Also, his fear of the house doesn’t come back later. Even when people are dying. Back in the plot, Richard reveals what he learned from Google. The short version is that Sean got altitude sickness and decapitated his Sherpa with an ice axe. Peter makes a joke about how the Sherpa must have refused to carry the bags. Richard explains that Sean thought the guy was a yeti. Peter replies:
“I’ve seen those Sherpa guides; they’re only four feet tall.”
Peter and Richard go back upstairs. They reveal that they’ve set up hidden speakers throughout the house and have sound effect CDs with cheesy Halloween noises on them. Unlike everything else thus far, this does come back later.
Back with Jackass Couple, Darla reveals that her book says one shouldn’t try to conjure the spirit of negative energies. Really? Trying to call forth the angry ghost of a murderer is a bad idea? Obviously, Darla is the protagonist because she’s a genius. Biff tells her they’ve got to spend the whole night in the house so Brad doesn’t think he’s a coward. Then he pretends that it’s about the money he’ll win if he spends the night in the house. Darla knows otherwise, though. Biff lost his football scholarship, but he doesn’t have a part-time job. So he must be doing this for Brad. If you feel like Brad and Biff have a relationship filled with homoerotic undertones, that’s going to get stronger as the film goes on. Darla is worried because she’s never done a seance before; Biff reminds her that’s the point. They argue for a bit. Then Biff orders her to read the Tarot cards. Darla doesn’t even try, saying she doesn’t know what she sees. Biff replies, “Exactly. Nothing.” Which feels like a response to a different line. He threatens to spend the night in the house with a different girl. Pro Tip here, guys, when your girlfriend who has never done a seance before doesn’t want to conjure a murderous spirit because she’s afraid it’ll go horribly wrong, don’t threaten to cheat on her. That’s how Groundhog’s Day began.
This film is not shot on a professional camera by the way. As in, it has the exact same production value as my sophomore film project, which was shot on a mini-DV cam. Also, I want to talk about the direction a little. This scene is shot from one angle. There’s a few insert shots, but they’re all over quickly and it’s back to the master. If I had to guess, I’d say 97 percent of the scene is shot from one angle. Which actually makes a bit of sense when you consider the director’s background. Sesame Street only needs one angle.
Back in the plot, there’s an establishing shot of the fence surrounding the McIntyre house and then a shot of a rusty pipe. None of this is important later. Also, we’ve already seen the McIntyre house. It is established; stop establishing it! Peter and a guy we’ve not seen before and will not see again film Richard who is finally explaining the premise of the movie. On Halloween night, a group of university students will try to spend the night in the McIntyre house.
“And you can see it all for only $9.99 on deathondemand.com!”
Richard informs the camera that porn star Velvet Luv will be on a team. What he hasn’t told the viewers is that the teams will be given clues. When they figure them out, they will get a clue to the next location. The first team to figure it all out gets to leave early.
Oddly, Dan Falcone is a fairly decent actor. He’s not good, but he’s not nearly the worst of the group. But Richard can’t talk to a camera to save his life. He’s awkward and stilted. I’d like to think this was a conscious choice by Falcone.
At an office, Richard waits to talk to his dad. His dad disproves of his web cast. That doesn’t dissuade Richard from asking for money so he can stream it. After listening to him for a bit, Dad asks Richard some questions. He needs 1000 viewers to charge his jewel – I mean break even, and he currently has 500 subscribers. Dad asks for paperwork showing 700 subscribers, and he’ll front Richard the money. I’m so glad this scene is in the film. I couldn’t possibly have gone on without knowing how Richard managed to finance his web cast.
Cut to Jerkass Couple. For once, there isn’t an establishing shot, but we’ve never seen this couple before so this would actually be an appropriate place for one. Tammy (Anne McDaniels) is topless as Brad (Brandon Goins) attempts to shag her. I say attempt because Tammy complains that he isn’t even inside her. Brad argues. I think she’d know, buddy. Tammy gets angry and climbs out of the bed to put her panties on and stand around topless. They’ve been having intimacy problems for about a month so she thinks he’s cheating on her. Brad immediately yells that he’s not gay. He defends his problems by saying he got headbutted in the scrotum by a 300 pound linebacker. This actor acts entirely with his eyebrows; I think they’re completely autonomous. Tammy tries to get Brad back in the mood by talking about how they’re going to win the McIntyre prize money. He just wants to beat Biff. I told you the homoerotic undertones didn’t lessen. Tammy is understandably angry so she shoves her dildo in his face and threatens to cheat on him with it. Brad responds by pinning her on the bed; this excites Tammy until he farts on her. She tries to escape from underneath him, but he continues to fart. Like I said, I hope you enjoy jackasses.
Back at the McIntyre house, Peter and Richard work on their website. They discuss Velvet Luv for a bit before Peter finally calls her dumb. Haydn (Sara Christal) comes in and asks, “Who’s dumb?” Peter says, “You are.” The dialogue in this movie is brilliant and not at all childish! Richard calls her awesome. Haydn grins for a moment before asking what he wants. Christal is easily the best actress in the movie. The problem is the character. She’s supposed to be live-action Goth Velma from Scooby Doo. Seriously. I’m not making that up. The voice is a very good (and annoying) imitation of the character. She always wears a skirt with knee socks. Her hair is in a bob, she has glasses, and she’s a lesbian. Later she even does the whole “Glasses! Where are my glasses?” bit.
Richard tries to convince Haydn to continue to be part of the contest. Her “friend” Simone can’t take part, but Richard says he has a better partner in mind. She continues to refuse until he gives her a worn pair of Velvet Luv’s black lace panties. Haydn grabs them, sniffs them, and begins to moan. Until she realizes Richard is watching her. The faces she makes are hilarious, but the Velma voice is incredibly annoying.
Cut to another establishing shot, this one of a train going by. There’s a second establishing shot of the side of the house. Neither of these have anything to do with the plot. Velvet Luv (Krista Grotte) shows up at the McIntyre house. There are a bunch of pointless scenes. Then everybody shows up at the house. But of course, we have an establishing shot first. Haydn is dressed as a nurse. She looks awkwardly at everyone. Christal knows she’s in a crappy film and is having fun with it; the little faces she makes are hilarious. Tammy and Brad arrive. She’s dressed as a French maid; he’s dressed as a douche. He’s wearing a shirt that reads “Costume,” that is. Darla and Biff arrive. She’s dressed as Little Red Riding Hood; he’s wearing a pimp costume from the local Spirit Halloween. Darla and Tammy are generically bitchy at each other until Darla calls Tammy the single worst thing you can call a woman.
This begins a fist fight, which the boys have to break up. Haydn is still hilarious in the background. Richard comes in and explains the premise of the show and the backstory again. I imagine this is incredibly boring to watch on the web because there appears to be only one angle. Intercut are some scenes with a pair of completely extraneous football players dressed as skeletons. Their entire role could be cut from the film without any detriment. But they have a scene later on (that adds nothing) so I’m mentioning them here.
Brad suddenly learns to count and realizes there are only five people in the room. Richard plays up the fact that Haydn is a lesbian and then Velvet comes into the room dressed as a slutty cop. She walks around and checks everyone out; her shorts are insanely tiny. As in, there is no point in shorts anymore. Richard gives each team their map and tells them to begin the seance. Darla throws a fit because “there are requirements!” Haydn begins to speak, but Richard wisely only lets her get two words out before talking over her. Which means the director was aware of how annoying her voice was. Richard brings out Bridget’s doll, which McIntyre was holding when he died. Only he didn’t actually have a doll. (Told you that for a reason.) Brad yells, “You mean he liked dolls? NICE!” because the audience doesn’t hate him enough. Biff makes a joke about how it isn’t Brad’s kind of doll, which is genuinely funny. Until he starts miming what is either a blow job or humping a blow up doll. It could be either. Or both really. Either way, it ruins the joke. Richard tells them he’s locking himself in a secret part of the house and leaves. It’s so secret that Haydn and Velvet know exactly where he is.
The group immediately devolves into name calling and being whiny bitches at each other. For no apparent reason, Velvet suddenly goes on a spiel about how she bought her breasts and is proud of that. Everybody continues to act like jerks like she never interrupted. Eventually, Darla starts the marriage ceremony.
“We are gathered here today to raise the spirit of Sean McIntyre.”
She asks for McIntyre to come back with no ill will. Three guesses how that turns out. There’s a bunch of random shots of things around and outside the house. None of this comes back later. Darla tells everyone to use the Ouija board. Suddenly, really fake screams begin to sound. It’s Peter’s sound effects CD, which is drowning out the sounds from elsewhere in the house. Nobody can hear the screams of Bridget and Daphne. Black-and-white flashes of the McIntyre family’s ghosts appear. The girls are legitimately freaking, appearing with completely white spaces where their eyes should be. It’s such a terrifying image it was used on the cover of the DVD. And this is the only place it shows up. Sean walks out of a room, and the web cam begins to mess up. That never happens again, though. In the kitchen, the cabinet doors begin to open-and-close repeatedly as the closet door slams itself. Darla asks if Sean is there. The pointer moves to “Yes.” She asks if he comes peacefully. He throws everything in the room that isn’t bolted down at them and then moves the pointer to “No.” just in case that’s too subtle. The chandelier falls almost crushing them. Brad yells at the camera.
Brad: That’s not funny, dickhead!
Peter: Yes, it is, dickhead!
Like I said, hope you enjoy jackasses. The teams break up and head off to find their clues. Biff and Brad continually flip each other off as they back out of the room. Velvet immediately asks if Haydn likes girls.
In the basement, Team Jerkass tries to find the opposite of McIntyre’s favourite thing to scale. Brad tries to figure out what the opposite of a fish is as Tammy stares at him like he’s stupid. She eventually tells him that McIntyre was a mountain climber. Brad doesn’t get what that has to do with scaling. She tells him they’re looking for the opposite of a mountain so Brad wonders where they’re going to find a volcano. Tammy explains that the opposite of a mountain is a molehill. Brad’s never heard of the saying and doesn’t know what a molehill looks like. Tammy snaps that he should be on the lookout for a small pile of dirt. I’m really confused as to what she sees in him. Other than biceps.
In the bedroom where the girls were found, Velvet splays on the bed as Haydn looks around for the clue. Haydn looks under the bed, and Velvet takes the opportunity to straddle her so she’ll come up with her face between Velvet’s thighs. Velvet begins stroking her hair and talking about how hot she finds Haydn. Upstairs, Peter wonders what she sees in Goth Velma. Richard admits to offering Velvet a $500 bonus if she slept with someone. As Haydn begins to lick Velvet’s breasts, Peter calls Richard a genius.
In the kitchen, Team Jackass is arguing about whether the fact that Darla is cold means anything.
“Your next clue is behind what Gretchen’s brains are splattered on.”
Darla replies they’re looking for a clue in the radiator. There’s a flashback to brains splashing on it. Only we saw how Gretchen died. She was killed in the dining room where the seance took place. So it’s a little hard for her brains to have wound up in a completely different room. Biff finds the clue. Darla keeps whinging, and Biff tells her to just concentrate on figuring out the clues so they can leave.
“He put his daughter where he hung his hat.”
These clues are stupid because even I can figure out that means a closet. But Darla is convinced it means coat rack. Why are all these characters stupid and annoying? Darla begins to cry because she feels a presence. Biff tells her to “cut the Psychic Friend bullshit.” Darla runs out of the room. Biff walks after her. The camera holds for a long time, making me feel like a jump scare should be happening, but they resist the urge.
Back with Team Jerkass, Brad refuses to reach into the molehill because he’s a centre. I don’t know enough about American football to understand what those two things have to do with each other. Tammy tries to use the power of sex to convince him to do it, but he’s having none of it so they argue like adults.
Brad: You’re on the rag all the time!
Tammy: Limp dick!
Brad: I can’t get it up, because I’m fucking you!
The skeletons who are viewing this on the internet have been joined by a ghost viking. Now there are three completely extraneous characters. Tammy digs out the clue.
“Your next stop is where Sean had his moment of contrition.”
-Setup to a Stupid Joke
Brad says they should go to the bathroom. Tammy explains that he’s thinking of constipation and they should go to the attic where McIntyre hanged himself. They argue for a bit, and Tammy decides he should check out the bathroom whilst she looks in the attic. For the first time, I agree with the horror film character that thinks splitting up is a good idea. As she walks off, Brad flips her off repeatedly. Seriously, what does she see in him?
Team Jackass is in the front hallway. Darla is trying to get out, but the doors are locked with thick heavy chains around a padlock. Darla screams she quits; Biff tells the web cam that she’s kidding.
Team Lesbian is still fooling around in the bedroom. Velvet takes off Haydn’s glasses and immediately whips out her breasts. That seems unfair since Haydn is so blind she can’t see them. Velvet remedies this by taking Haydn’s hands and placing them there. They make out for a bit, then Velvet rips open Haydn’s dress, revealing that she’s wearing Velvet’s panties. That’s so gross. Velvet handcuffs Haydn to the bed and then digs through her bag for her magic lube. She heads downstairs for it, leaving Haydn handcuffed to the bed. Now I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’m fairly certain the vagina is self-lubricating. So why is she going to get lube? Oh right, because the plot said so.
Richard orders Peter to follow Velvet with the cameras. She walks into the bathroom and finds Brad looking for clues. By which I mean sitting on the side of the bathtub and looking at his biceps. When he notices Velvet, he’s as charming as ever. Velvet turns to the web cam behind her and informs Brad that he’s getting her hot. He looks confused by this for a moment, but then she whips out her breasts again. In the attic, Tammy asks, “Where is the asshole when I need him?” Cut to him getting a handjob in the bathroom. This movie isn’t as funny as it thinks it is.
Back in the bedroom, Haydn is starting to get irritated with being handcuffed to the bed and abandoned. I don’t blame her. Sean walks into the room, and Haydn utters the line everybody has been waiting for.
“Glasses! Where are my glasses?”
-Goth Velma Fulfills Her Purpose
Haydn tells Velvet this isn’t funny and asks to be let go. So Sean asks if she’s from another expedition. When she gets confused, he realizes the producers have no further use of her character and hits her with an ice axe. He pulls the axe out with a couple of organs attached and then hits her a few more times. The gore is decent. It’s not particularly gross or realistic, but it didn’t make me laugh. Also, there’s a reason Jerry Broome doesn’t speak much in the film. He’s not a good actor. In fact, he may be the worst in the entire film. His dialogue is stilted, and he doesn’t sound scared or like he thinks Haydn is a yeti.
In the bathroom, Velvet is confused because Brad isn’t hard anymore. He explains about the linebacker incident. In response, Velvet pulls out her magic lube. It must have been in the bathroom because I never saw her grab it. They argue a bit before she pulls out generic Viagra. He continues to say that “The General” doesn’t need it. Velvet decides to end the argument by completely taking off her top and groping him. When there’s no response, she gives him the pill.
Downstairs, Team Jackass is trying to pull it together. Darla still wants to leave, but Biff convinces her to stay. He suggests they look in the closet, and Darla finds the clue.
“Head to the spot where Ruth Gordon lost her head.”
They hear noises from upstairs and realize it’s someone having sex. They go to investigate. Meanwhile, Velvet and Brad engage in the worst dirty talk ever. She’s a porn star; one would think she’d be better at it.
Brad: “I ROCK!”
Velvet: “Come on, soldier! Fire your rifle!”
That doesn’t even make sense. If he was dressed as a soldier, it wouldn’t be too bad. Still be stupid, but I’d understand where she’s coming from.
In the attic, Tammy wanders around, looking for her clue. Something falls over behind her, and she thinks Brad did it. But he didn’t. Sean swings what I think is the ice axe at her and slices open her leg. Tammy tries to crawl away, but Sean reaches into the wound and pulls out a tendon, which he then uses to drag her into the dark. This is legitimately creepy and nightmare-inducing. I hurt just thinking about it. Tammy screams, and it morphs into Velvet’s moans.
Team Jackass bursts into the bathroom, which kinda makes them jerks. Surprisingly, Brad actually stops having sex. Based on the character, I just knew he wouldn’t care. He begins to yell loudly, “No, Velvet, I don’t want to have sex with you! I have a girlfriend!” Velvet hopes she has power tools. Brad tries to convince everyone to not say anything to Tammy, but Darla points out that cameras exist. Then she points out the one in the bathroom. Brad runs off to find Tammy before the others can tell her.
At the Skeleton House of Extraneous Characters, the two skeletons decide to leave everybody alone so they can go to the McIntyre house. It’s never explained why they do this or what they hope to accomplish. My best guess is they think they can break in and get laid. Together. For this movie to be so homophobic, there is a lot of gay subtext.
Back at the bathroom, Velvet wants to wash up so she can go back to Haydn who’s still handcuffed to the bed. Well, Velvet thinks she’s handcuffed to the bed. But Darla realizes she hasn’t engaged in jackassery yet so she pushes the others out in order to use the lav first. In the hallway, Velvet feels up Biff, but he uses the old “I’ve left something in the kitchen!” excuse to run away.
“I haven’t met a football player yet who wasn’t a stone cold faggot. I’ll set him straight.”
-More Homophobia! from the bi character…
She heads off downstairs after him.
Elsewhere in the house, Brad calls for Tammy. The skeletons shove their faces against the window for a jumpscare. Which means that Tammy told Brad she was going up to the attic to look around and in order to find her, he went down to the ground floor. Seriously, why was she with him? Also, how did the skeletons get there so fast? It has maybe been five minutes since they left their house. Maybe not even that long, because even Brad would’ve gotten around to checking the attic by then. How did the skeletons even know where the McIntyre house was? Is it some sort of local legend? If so, why did everybody have to do so much research in order to participate? Shouldn’t they have known the basics of the story? Why are the skeletons even there in the first place? They can’t get in; nobody can get out. And why is that window open anyway? ARGH! Too big a plot hole! Fine, they did it all through magic neutrinos. Back in the plot (if you want to call it that), the skeletons show Brad that they brought silly string so they decide to get Biff by the window and cover him in it.
In the bathroom, Darla is having some problems. Namely, the lights keep flashing on and off (the only time Sean does that) and she’s seeing dead people in the mirror. As it freezes over, she begins to scream. Downstairs, Velvet tries to convince Biff to have sex whilst his girlfriend is in the bathroom.
“Darla’s the jealous type.”
-Why He Won’t
Pro Tip, boys and girls, the correct response is “I’m sorry, but I have a significant other and am faithful to him/her.” Saying “My significant other would get jealous” just makes the significant other furious if s/he over hears and makes you significant other-less. Back in the plot, they hear Darla screaming. They easily open the door and free her. She tells them what she saw, but Biff tries to be rational about it. He reminds Darla she has claustrophobia and that may make her hallucinate. Velvet chimes in.
“I used to be like that when I gave head, but I got over it!”
The writers suddenly remembered that this whole thing was a web cast and there are two other characters. Richard asks Peter to switch the camera over to Haydn. Peter does, but the room is so dark that they can’t see what’s left of Haydn; wouldn’t that interfere with people being able to view it?
Brad runs up to Team Jackass and Velvet, sporting a very visible erection. It’s not funny. Brad tells Biff that Coach is outside the house and wants to talk with him. Not only is that a ludicrous story, but it is poorly acted. I can’t tell if Brad is supposed to be crap and the actor is doing his job or if the actor is just bad. For some reason, Biff buys this stupidity and goes to the window where the skeletons are waiting. They cover him in silly string, and he punches Brad in the cock. They begin to fistfight. For some reason, the skeletons begin to fight each other as well. Velvet decides this is the perfect opportunity to hit on another person and feels up Darla. This is when Darla decides the fight has to stop. Eventually, she just hits Brad on the head with a flashlight. That stops the fight, and she apologizes, saying she had to do it because he was like a wild animal.
“I am a wild animal. I am a panther. RAR!”
At the Skeleton House of Extraneous Characters, all the viewers immediately yell it back at the laptop. Memetic mutation at work, boys and girls!
Brad realizes he was supposed to be looking for Tammy so he finally decides to go check the attic. Darla apologizes again and tells him to be careful, so he flips her off the entire time he’s walking away. When is he going to die? Team Jackass and Velvet go off their separate ways…somewhere. And the skeletons yell curses after them. Goodbye, Skeletons! You served absolutely no purpose other than padding!
In the attic, Brad looks for Tammy. When he finds her, he throws up in full view of the camera. I really needed to know what he ate for dinner. It was corn, by the way. Sean’s spiked boots, which he was not wearing when he died, step into view. This would actually be chilling if it didn’t come so close on the heels of the gross out. And if it wasn’t followed by Sean ripping off Brad’s penis. Sean yells at Brad.
“I told you to carry my pack!”
That’s actually funny and really subtle. Unless it’s a dick joke I’m not getting. Sean begins to stomp on Brad’s head, killing him.
In the basement, Darla and Biff open up the furnace because this is where Sean shoved Ruth’s head after he decapitated her. There’s nothing inside so they begin to look around. Darla finds a diary in the space behind the furnace. They open it and find out it’s Gretchen’s. Personally, I would’ve assumed this was a production trick. They were told to find where Ruth’s head was and they find a diary? That seems like a stunt to me. Back in the plot, they read the diary. It’s just a repeat of everything else we know about Sean.
They hear Velvet screaming and go to investigate. She’s trying to get out of the house because she finally went back in the bedroom and found Haydn murdered. I’m reluctant to ask what she was doing in all this time. In the control room, Richard and Peter (remember them? The writers just did.) think Velvet and Haydn are trying to pull something to scare the others enough to leave. In the bedroom, Haydn’s hands have been chopped off and are still in the handcuffs. This scene is shot so the hands are in the foreground, but the focus is on the characters in the background. It makes the hands fuzzy and keeps them from looking so fake. Until Biff actually touches one. That ruins the effect, guys! Then Darla has to touch the hands too, just to make sure we understand how bad the hand effects actually are. Velvet angsts about how she shouldn’t have left Haydn alone to have sex with Brad. And attempt to have sex with Biff. And attempt to have sex with Darla. And maybe have sex with the skeletons; who knows, she was gone a long time. Then the lights go out.
Fortunately for Richard and Peter, the Universal Power Supply turns on. Peter explains that they have 30 minutes before it goes down, and Richard goes to fix the power. Unfortunately, the wires have been ripped out of the box and cut. In the time it takes Darla and Biff to turn on the flashlight, Velvet has disappeared. She wanders around in the darkness until she is found by Sean. He shoves a spring-loaded camming device (Thank you, Internet!) into her mouth and opens it, causing her head to explode.
Team Jackass wanders around until they find Velvet’s body attached to the wall, presumably by the camming device. She’s still twitching, which I find a nice touch. Sean steps into view, and the couple runs. Instead of trying to get out of the house, they run upstairs into the attic. They proceed to cover the only entrance with a heavy chest. In any other film, this would be highly intelligent, and I would be praising the characters. But unlike other films, the murderer is a mountain-climbing ghost that kills people using mountain climbing equipment. Back in the plot, Biff thinks they need to call the cops. Darla disagrees because Sean was called by a seance and there’s a protective incantation that will protect them; they just need three people and a personal possession. Sean begins to beat on the door.
Meanwhile, Peter suddenly notices there’s blood all over the room Haydn was in. He didn’t notice this when all the lights were on and when Haydn was actually being murdered, but as soon as it’s too dark to see anything, he can magically see all the blood. This film has more holes than all the cheese in Switzerland. Peter grabs his mobile and calls the authorities. By which I mean “Richard.” I don’t know what Richard is supposed to do and neither does he. Then he hears noises so Richard goes off to investigate.
In the attic, Darla keeps reading Gretchen’s diary. Not what I would’ve chosen to do, but it does impart some vital information. Sean bought the dolls for his daughters as talismen to keep away bad spirits. She’s convinced his soul is trapped in the doll and wants to use it as the personal object for the protective incantation. Biff keeps explaining that the doll is downstairs with the murderer. He begins to look for a way out and finds the bodies of Brad and Tammy instead. This attic is not big enough for everybody to keep missing bodies!
Downstairs, Richard is still trying to find the source of the noise. Peter finds it first, though, when he sees Sean on one of the monitors. Once again, instead of calling the police, he calls Richard. He tells Richard there’s a man with an ice axe in the house and they need to get out. So Richard wanders around some more. This frustrates Peter enough to leave his safe, secure, locked room. He is immediately ice axed in the stomach by Sean. At least, I’m assuming he is. Based on the way it’s shot and acted, Sean may have just started to have sex with Peter. As soon as he’s done, Sean looks down at the body and makes a great, blank, “I am confused” face. I’m just not sure that’s what it’s supposed to be.
Sean begins to use his mountain climbing equipment to climb up the side of the roof. Darla hears noises and realizes he’s outside so she sends Biff down to grab the doll. And then they rip off one of the most famous scenes in film history.
Darla: I love you.
Biff: Yeah. I know. *descends*
I’m going to move on because if I stop to explain everything wrong with this scene we’ll be here for another nine pages. Biff finds the doll and comes back all without running into Richard who is still wandering around aimlessly downstairs. One would think he would’ve unlocked the door and left or called the cops after Peter stopped answering his phone, but logic and causation has no place in this movie! Darla tells Biff they need three people. Biff explains that everybody is dead. So she tells him they need three people. What do you want him to do, Darla? He can’t magic up a person for you! Biff once again explains that everybody’s dead, Darla. They’re all dead; everybody’s dead, Darla. Gordon Bennett, yes, everybody. Everybody’s dead. Everybody is dead, Darla.
“I’ve never read a rule that says they’re supposed to be alive.”
-Why Darla is Pre-Law
Sean begins to break into the room, and Darla tells Biff to ignore it. They begin the seance, using Tammy’s dead body as the third person. Richard finds them…somehow. Biff runs to let him in despite Darla warning him repeatedly not to break the circle. As soon as he grabs Richard’s hand to haul him up, Sean appears to kill Richard and drag Biff down to the lower storey. Darla gets over her claustrophobia from earlier and hides in the chest before Sean pulls himself up into the attic.
After a pointless scene of the Skeleton House of Extraneous Characters, Darla climbs out of the chest because it’s about 80 minutes into the run time so she has to do something to defeat Sean. She wanders around the attic with the doll instead of heading back into the house. Sean appears and takes a swing at her with his ice axe, chopping the doll’s arm off. So his arm falls off. Apparently, he bought his daughters voodoo dolls. Instead of using his confusion as a chance to run away, Darla stares back blankly at him. Eventually, she gets around to ripping one of the legs off. From the floor, Sean gives her a look that’s half “Please, kill me!” and half “Dude! I am so stoned right now!” Darla rips the doll in half, causing the same thing to happen to him. Instead of taking this chance to run away, she slowly sinks to the floor beside his body and cries. For the rest of the night.
After the sun has come up, Darla lowers herself into the house and begins to crawl down the stairs. The actress moves so slowly there are no less than two crossfades to speed up her walking down the stairs. In the attic, the doll twitches. Downstairs, Darla just appears to wander around aimlessly. In the attic, the doll begins to put itself back together. Sean climbs to his feet, grabs his grappling hook, and heads downstairs where Darla has managed to get the door open despite the heavy chains and lock. She stands in the doorway for an hour so Sean can grappling hook her through the stomach. Darla jerks and gasps for one minute-thirty seconds! (Yes, I checked.) Then he drags her back in the house and slams the door, which is still covered in heavy chains.
Normally, I’d be done talking about the film, but Death on Demand has a really weird soundtrack. The ending credits have three very bouncy, happy songs playing over them. Each one plays for about a minute, abruptly stops, and switches to the next song. And none of them are appropriate for the film. It makes me think that maybe I just watched a really well-orchestrated joke.
Death on Demand actually had a good idea. I know this because I saw Halloween: Resurrection, and it wasn’t half bad. The problem was that Death on Demand didn’t know what they were doing with the plot. Most of the film seemed to be padding. The only subplot in the film (the skeletons and their friends who are viewing the web cast) is completely extraneous. It adds nothing other than annoyance. Well, that’s a lie. It also adds a gay male character in what I assume is an attempt to wriggle out of accusations of homophobia with “But Sam the Ghost Viking was gay!” The film is still homophobic despite having all sorts of homoerotic overtones in Biff and Brad’s relationship. The lesbians are obviously fanservice.
That’s another problem with this film. The characters are all cliches, and mostly the same cliche. Darla is the Rich (possibly psychic) Bitch. Tammy is the Blonde Smart Bitch. Biff is the Ex-Jock Dick. Brad is the Crude Jock Dick. Velvet is the Slut. Richard is the Get-Rich-Quick Dick. Peter is the Black Nerdy Dick. The skeletons are Jock Dicks. And Haydn is Goth Velma. There is not a single likeable character in the film. Haydn gets the closest because her actor is at least trying to have fun, but her voice makes it hard to like her because it’s so annoying. It’s even hard to cheer for Sean. He’s not charismatic or funny like Freddy and Chuckie; he’s not a supernatural embodiment of evil like Jason or Michael. He’s not really anything other than really confused by what’s happening.
The real problem with Death on Demand is that nothing sticks out. It’s the sort of film you’ll end up watching a couple of times because you can’t remember if you’ve seen it before. The characters are all annoying enough that you don’t want them to live, but the deaths (other than Tammy’s) aren’t good enough for you to be happy they’re dead. The gore is good, but it’s nothing spectacular. The writing isn’t bad enough or good enough to be funny. (Though the bit where Brad declares he’s a panther and the audience yells it back is legitimately funny.) I don’t recommend this film. It’s not good nor is it bad enough to be good.