Little Deaths Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson and Simon Rumley

Little Deaths Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson and Simon Rumley
The horror genre is the perfect vehicle for the omnibus film, where short, sharp shocks can be more readily illustrated than sustained terror. From Dead of Night to Creepshow and Grindhouse, filmmakers have used the anthology format to experiment, have fun and go for the jugular in delivering economically paced terror. Following in those bloody footsteps is Little Deaths, featuring three short stories from a trio of UK filmmakers that combine elements of the creepy with twists of the sexually perverse. Sean Hogan's House and Home kicks things off and is the most conventional of the three chapters. The story of a yuppie couple whose moribund sex life can only be resuscitated by the humiliation, rape and torture of unwitting victims, House and Home builds slowly then turns the tables quickly, as the couple's young prize, a street kid named Sorrow, takes matters into her own hands and exacts revenge. While House and Home is appropriately nasty, its not-so-subtle twist comes out of nowhere, with little build-up or explanation. Andrew Parkinson's more subtly perverse Mutant Tool follows the struggles of an ex-junkie (Jodie Jameson) undergoing addiction treatment involving a particularly unconventional medication. Of course, there are unfortunate side effects that allow her to see the very worst impulses of anyone who touches her. Mutant Tool works well as a slight homage to Naked Lunch, and has enough good ideas to be fleshed out into a full feature, but its overt concern with its extraordinarily gross hook and "did I just see that and can I please-unsee that?" bizarreness leave a little to be desired. Simon Rumley's Bitch is the most interesting and accomplished work of the three. Following the extremely dysfunctional relationship of a young London couple, Bitch combines BDSM with a dog motif, as the domineering Claire (Kate Braithwaite) uses milquetoast boyfriend Pete (Tom Sawyer) as a psychological punching bag to relieve her extreme cynophobia. After things get a little too real, Pete exacts his revenge in particularly gruesome fashion. Bitch is both the most sexually complex and least outwardly gory of the three films and is all the better for it. Anchored by a pair of excellent lead performances, Bitch marks Rumley as an interesting genre filmmaker, although charges of misogyny would not be without merit. The DVD comes with an entertaining making-of featurette, in which the three directors talk about what led them to express their perverse whims. (eOne)