Beaten to Death is the epitome of being put through the wringer. From the get-go, Sam Curtain’s third feature from the director’s chair (which premiered recently at Australia’s A Night of Horror International Film Festival) is relentless in carrying out its mantra in promising to beat a man to death. Our opening shots are of a guy literally being pummelled by a brute of a man; the reasons why yet to be disclosed.
Set in Tasmania, where Curtain, who also takes on writing and cinematography duties, takes full advantage of the beautiful-yet-brutal landscape; a metaphor for the narrative as it unfolds. Both Man and Nature are at its most harshest to put our everyman to his final test.
Jack (Thomas Roach) is the man to be subjected to all forms of torture. He along with his partner Rachel (Nicole Tudor) have rolled the dice on a gamble that could help them through their struggles, but the path they choose and fate have a different tale to tell.
Beaten to Death is one of those rare movies that does exactly what it says on the tin. It is not for the faint of heart, take note of the title. It’s spelt out for you.
What Curtain does offer is anything but predictable, carving up the narrative to draw out the ebbs and flows of Jack’s suffering. He allows the audience to breathe but just enough to catch our breath and throw us into the grinder again. There is heart too as we slowly learn of Jack’s initial plight and ultimate descent. Hats off to a solid performance by Roach too to lure the audience in with his solid portrayal.
Curtain keeps dangling the hope of survival throughout, and thus the tension hits you squarely in the face… repeatedly until the end. Brace yourself.
- Saul Muerte
Beaten to Death will be screening as part of the New York City Horror Film Festival in December.