An Homage To B-Movie Horror
Art Of The Dead may just be the funniest horror I’ve watched this year. While that sounds like a discredit to the film, it’s actually anything but. Playing on old horror tropes from the 80’s and combining artistic camera work with some surprisingly good practical effects, Art Of The Dead is a self-aware homage to the camp, exaggerated horrors of old, managing to find a way to entertain during every minute of its 90 minute run-time, even if the plot elements and over-acting hold this back from being a better title.
Playing on the seven deadly sins trope, Art Of The Dead revolves around a series of seven paintings, aptly named the The Sinsational Set, unleashing horror on an unsuspecting family after they buy them at an auction. As things starts to escalate and the family become consumed by the various different sins, Art Of The Dead doubles down on its goofy premise and sees the family split up and grappling sinful horrors. All of this escalates into a messy, action-packed ending that sees a satisfying conclusion to this twisted, gory tale.
When it comes to B-movies I’m a big fan of guilty pleasure titles and Art Of The Dead does hit the right spot. There’s some hilarious self-aware dialogue here that had me laughing out loud and the blend of outright horror, gore and comedy is surprisingly well-balanced throughout the film. If there’s one gripe I do have with the tone though, it comes from the overly-sexualised slant on the sins which sees Envy, Wrath and Lust chock full of nudity and blood that doesn’t always translate well to the finished product. Late on there’s a couple of lingering shots of full frontal nudity that doesn’t add an awful lot to proceedings and these scenes in general don’t always feel like they’re needed in the film.
Despite that, Art Of The Dead does have some pretty slick cinematography and hats off to the editor too – there’s some really nice transitions between scenes here that helps the flow of the film maintain a consistent pace throughout. This is a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously either and while I wasn’t a massive fan of the over-acting, it actually complements the tone of the piece perfectly and is one of the few examples of this actually benefiting, rather than hindering the film.
If you’re after a goofy B-movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously but manages to entertain and pack a comedic punch in the process, this is absolutely worth checking out. It’s not a film to be taken seriously, it’s not particularly scary or shocking (aside from the nudity), and it’s not an effective horror. What it does do though, is effectively rekindle that old straight-to-VHS style of horror rife in the 80’s but it does so with such tenacity, you can’t help but leave the film feeling entertained. If you’re itching for something to remind you of those classic horror vibes, Art Of The Dead absolutely scratches that itch and is certainly worth checking out, even if it does have some flaws holding it back.