Little Deaths (2011) review

Little Deaths Poster and Reviewby Jesse Miller,

Little Deaths is a nasty little British horror anthology composed of three disturbing tales intertwined around such themes of sex, death and relationships.

Make no mistake, this is definitely not for everyone – this gruesome and gory trilogy displays quite graphic and extreme sexual content that will probably test even the seasoned horror film buff.

That being said, let’s dive right in, shall we?

The first entry is writer/director Sean Hogan’s House & Home, which follows disturbed, rich and religious husband and wife, Richard (Luke De Lacy) & Victoria (Siubhan Harrison), as they prey on a homeless woman, aptly titled Sorrow (Holly Lucas), with the intent of capturing, using and abusing her for their own sexual satisfaction.
What follows is revolting and vile, as we are forced to bear witness to husband and wife gleefully tormenting their victim and enjoying themselves all too much.

While this sequence is quite harrowing, I couldn’t help but marvel at all the technical work on display.

From the use of the colour red to dimly light the scene, to the use of reverberated moans and groans, to camera shots shifting in and out of focus, to the use of the black back drop.

It all works beautifully to create a nauseating, disorienting effect.

The second entry, Mutant Tool, from writer/director Andrew Parkinson, is quite the unusual and disorienting tale.
I use the word “disorienting” because for the majority of this tale’s length, you’ll be left in the dark, trying to get a handle on just what the hell this story is about and where it is going.

Now, that’s not entirely a bad thing because it can be both unsettling and nightmarish trying to find some stable ground when everything is all up in the air, but that’s just the problem I had with this entry.
I couldn’t connect with the characters or their story and it hampered my enjoyment of this tale somewhat.

The story goes: drug dealer and former prostitute Jen (Jodie Jameson) is struggling to quit her professions once and for all, but finds she keeps coming back.

She is given an experimental drug to help her with her growing depression, but soon learns that the drug has extreme side effects such as lucid hallucinations – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

While this entry runs more than a little rampant with its imagination, and the story can be slightly incoherent at times, it is nevertheless a compelling watch and it never becomes a dull affair.  However, it is my least favourite of the entries.

Last but definitely not least, we have writer/director Simon Rumley’s Bitch, a slow-burning psychological horror/drama that closely examines the peculiar relationship of Claire (Kate Braithwaite) and Pete (Tom Sawyer).

Claire and Pete have quite a very interesting relationship and even more of an interesting sex life.

See, Claire is quite the dominatrix in the relationship, towering over Pete and abusing him throughout the day for her own selfish and sexual needs.
This little kinky master/slave thing lasts entirely throughout the day – assuming, till the night, of course – and it’s gone so far that there is a separate room in the house entirely for a dog kennel for Pete to sleep in, complete with even a dog mask.
People really get into this stuff, huh?

However, playing the role of the submissive is wearing thin on Pete and for him, the act has gone from being something sexual to being emotional abuse – and he’s had enough.

Sawyer turns in a heartbreaking performance as Pete, who so desperately longs for a deeper connection with Claire, while Braithwaite does a superb job at breathing life into the flirty Claire, who can’t see past her playful, selfish needs.
Both actors create an outstanding and brave piece of work here as they capture such complex characters and bring such depth to them in so little time.

The entry is beautifully shot in shades of blue, and helps in creating a feeling of emptiness, of coldness and of isolation, while Rumley slowly and effectively builds the tension to near boiling point.

And oh, does it erupt! The climax of this piece stunned me into silence, as my jaw was left agape at the disquieting ending.

The stories of Little Deaths are fresh, original, compelling and utterly disturbing and each up-and-coming director has a unique voice and a fantastic directorial style that works beautifully with the material.
It is quite the nasty shocker and I should once again stress it is not for everyone - It’s depraved, it’s graphic and it’s twists and turns will shock you to the core.
Consider yourself warned.

Little Deaths is out now on DVD and Blu-Ray. Be sure to grab a copy and let More Horror know what you think!

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