A Brush With Death

JUNE 15, 2007


Wow. I really thought Drive Thru would be the worst movie I saw this week. Leave it to… oh wait, saying the names of anyone involved with this piece of shit would be meaningless, since none of them have any other credits to their name. Well, whoever they are, leave it to them to make what is not only the worst movie this week, but possibly the worst movie in the entire Horror Movie A Day canon.

Yes, even Bill Rebane himself never made anything as technically and creatively inept as A Brush With Death. I don’t even know where to begin pointing out everything that is wrong with this asstacular movie.*

Let’s start with the DVD packaging. The cover features a blond girl who is in some sort of half Christ pose in the middle of a tornado of some sort. Basically, she looks like a telekinesis prone heroine or villain, sort of like your Carries and Tamaras. I cannot discern if the actress is even in the movie (her hair is obscuring most of her face), but none of the blondes in the film ever display anything even resembling a personality, let alone powers of any sort, so it doesn’t matter.

Then on the back, the film is described thusly: “Five cheerleaders spend the night in an abandoned farmhouse and find themselves up against a vengeful ghost. They soon find out the spirit is from a dead boy who painted a portrait of the brother he killed forty years earlier.” OK, that’s pretty much the lamest and half-assed description of a movie ever (he painted a portrait? So the fuck what?), but the problem is it doesn’t even approach accuracy. They don’t spend the night in the farmhouse, they TALK about doing it but never actually do. In fact they don’t even go there until the last 20 minutes of the film. And it’s not a ghost they are up against – it’s a guy who looks like an accountant who appears out of nowhere (but not in the ghost way, in the ‘poor screenwriting; this mystery killer hasn’t appeared in the film before being revealed as the killer’ way). As for painting a portrait of his brother – you got me. He paints stuff (in the film’s tiniest shred of interesting storytelling, he drains his victims’ blood and paints with it) but not his brother. And if he killed his brother then why is he the dead one??? Whatever. I guess they had to put SOMETHING back there (there are no credits listed on the back, and the disc has no extra features), so let’s move on.

Popping in the disc reveals that, despite being a new film, the transfer is not anamorphic. So I had to watch the movie zoomed, thus making it look worse than it already did. I can’t even tell if it was film or video. Pretty sure it was the latter. We also have glorious 2.0 sound. Ooooh!

The opening credits (this is going to be a long writeup – my page of notes is covered) provide one of the biggest laughs I’ve ever gotten – the fucking casting person is credited BEFORE the people in the cast! I have never seen that before. It also claims to be based on a true story, but of course that is likely a lie. The credits also contradict one another – the credited writers change from beginning to end (yes, even though there are opening credits with the director, producers, writers, casting, etc, they are all repeated at the end before the usual scrolling list. This means that the no-name actors are actually given THREE screen credits).

In what has to be a first for a horror movie, the car breaks down before we even know half of our characters’ names. Almost immediately they are helped (the car just ran out of gas), and as the guy puts gas in, he has a flashback that lasts longer than the main story has lasted so far. Making matters worse – the contents of this flashback have no bearing on anything else in the movie. Random flashbacks are a theme of this movie, as about 2 minutes after this one ends, we get another one (introduced with its own title, like they did in Kill Bill, only stupider) that again has no real bearing on the plot of the rest of the film (it does have something to do with the plot on the back of the DVD though). There’s another one later about 2 backpackers that again, goes absolutely nowhere.

Every line of dialogue in this film is either badly ADRed, done as a voiceover over shots where the characters are obviously not even talking, or recorded badly on set (possibly even with the camera’s built in mic). There are scenes of people talking where one character’s audio will be loud and clear (if obviously recorded in a booth and not outside by a pool or wherever the character is supposed to be) and the other won’t be audible at all. Excellent. The unintentional comedy provided by constant VO lines almost makes the film worth watching. There’s a part where the girls are getting out of the car and the soundtrack just has an assortment of random lines like “here’s your bag.” - because someone onscreen is handing another a bag (she’s not talking). It's like an unfunny version of MST3k, where instead of saying jokes they are sort of filling in dead audio with general observations. There’s another part where a filthy mechanic character tells the girls to ‘service’ him or something and they dub in some “Ew, Gross!” style dialogue as the girls simply stand around doing nothing. It’s simply amazing. Often, director Brad Wiebe tries his hardest to hide this audio limitation by cutting to a character who is listening to whoever is allegedly talking. This makes some scenes more confusing than necessary, since the girls all sound similar to one another. “Who the Christing fuck is talking?” will be a question you will ask yourself often when watching this thing.

Rare is a film that is both padded to hell and overplotted. For every entirely useless and unnecessary scene, like when a character needs to be explained how to play Truth or Dare (???), there is another like one of the girls talking to someone on her cell phone about how they never appreciate her and make her feel bad about herself. Who she is talking to, what exactly he/she did to piss her off, or what it has to do with anything at all is never clear. Much like the flashbacks, it serves nothing other than to continually make the audience wonder what exactly the movie is supposed to be about.

And while I thought nothing could be more hilarious than the casting credit, or the scene where the girls are ‘partying’ and they offer a guy a "drink" (which is a 20 oz Coke), the ending managed to make me laugh harder than I have at anything all year. Our final girl hits the accountant guy over the head, leaves her surviving friends tied up in the farmhouse, and runs outside. Her friend, a guy who may be a rapist, drives by and she gets in the car as he takes a phone call. THE END. I shit you not. You expect a cut to the interior of the car, or maybe the killer getting back up, or maybe finally seeing the blond witch girl on the cover, but instead it cuts to an honest to god THE END title card.

And to top it off, much like The Woods, this film also has a character we are supposed to like make fun of a handicapped person. Nice.

You know, I understand that filmmaking is a business, but when I see something as soulless and worthless as this, it really pisses me off. It’s obvious that no one involved has any real respect or love for the genre (or even film in general) and were obviously out to make a quick buck. Christ, they don’t even seem to know anything about filmmaking at all beyond knowing how to turn the camera on. As awful as it was, even Drive Thru displayed some working knowledge of horror movies (since they ripped so many off blindly). And yeah, no one is going to pretend a movie like Friday the 13th wasn’t made simply to double an investment, but at least they made a decent film by putting some goddamn effort into it. There is no such evidence here. And it further saddens me to know that there is a family of four somewhere that could have been fed for almost a whole day with the money they used to make this film. It’s a goddamn travesty.

What say you?

*I begrudgingly admit that the piano music over the opening credits IS pretty great. It's the closest the movie gets to being competent.


  1. Hi,
    I am usually interested in crap movies, the ones that pretend to be serious! Do you know other film of this type?

  2. Dark Harvest and Dark Fields are just as bad as this one. And they are taken seriously. Also Gacy.

  3. You tapped into a thought I had while driving around LA last Dec... I saw a billboard for "National Treasure 2" and thought about how much better it would have been to donate the millions of $$ it took to make that movie to The Boys and Girls Club, The LA Mission, the LA food bank, or a million other worthy causes.

  4. ok ok 1-10 on cool effects i give it a 3, acting 2-, original 1, music 5, um hem i was so let down , it was a total oh we are five sluts in trouble with no acting skills and oh we are so helpless, then we move on to i'm a creepy gas attendant who likes to kill people molest and and take creepy pics, um no . this movie lacked every thing and i mean every thing. i have to say i love the description on this page where the guy said the man in the house looked like an accountant i was thinking IRS agent you know they do sometimes want your blood with taxes so yeah some sort of government man ha ha. i do not overly predictable movies,i mean i knew ragan or what ever his name was was tied into it and the handicap guy why do they have to put that in the plot? i ended up feeling bad for him like the character from whats eating Gilbert grape. this movie sucked i would love to know what part of this movie was even based on real facts is it the story about the farm house and the boy painter or the story of the gas attendant or is it the body's they find later in the house or non of the above. any way i don't want to waist my time on this film any more


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