Wednesday 17 April 2024

All You Need Is Death (2024)

An ancient and obscure Irish folk song may have terrifying consequences in writer-producer-director Paul Duane's new horror that, after having its UK premiere at this year's Glasgow Frightfest, is now getting a cinema release from Blue Finch.

Anna (Simone Collins) and Aleks (Charlie Maher) are collecting old folk tunes in Ireland with the express purpose of selling them on to collectors. So far their efforts haven't yielded anything sufficiently obscure for them to hit the jackpot, but a lead takes them to the house of alcoholic Rita ConCannon (Olwen Fouéré doing her best Fionnula Flanagan impersonation). 

Rita claims she knows a song that is 'only for the ears of women' and claims any attempt to record it could spell disaster. Unfortunately that's exactly what Agnes (Catherine Siggins), an obsessive academic does, resulting in some very strange happenings indeed.

An interesting entry in the 'dangerous art that can drive you insane' genre, which would also include John Carpenter's CIGARETTE BURNS and IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS, ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH seems to get a bit bored with its own (very good) central concept about halfway through and throws in a lot of other things the film doesn't really need. All it had to do was keep to the idea of 'song that brings about STONE TAPE - like creatures' and that, coupled with Agnes' arrogant academic and our two innocents abroad - both characters we see in the fiction of M R James - and ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH could have been a classic.

Instead it collapses under the weight of its own unchecked ambition. Even so, Duane isn't a hack, thank goodness, and visually the film has some inspired compositions and even some pleasing visual quotes to both Argento (one death scene) and Cronenberg, both senior (Agnes's introduction) and junior (the establishing shot of Agnes' residence is straight out of POSSESSOR). 

So ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH is certainly worth a watch and Duane is certainly a film-maker to keep an eye on, but lowered expectations for this one are recommended. Here's the trailer:

Paul Duane's ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH is out in UK cinemas on Friday 19th April 2024

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