måndag 10 maj 2021

Virtual Death Match

Let´s go back to the year of 2000, when i was with a friend of mine visiting a game store in Gothenburgh, the greatest city of Sweden ( if you ask me ). At this game store they had everything, and i really mean everything for game fans. All the game consoles you could wish for, and so many games that it was hard to pick. But i remember what made us more interested than any specific games, and that was to check out a virtual reality trailer for a game that was coming from Japan. I do not remember the name right now of that game, unfortunately. But i do remember our reaction, it seemed to be one of the coolest games ever. I do remember that the store owner said that they will buy the game to the shop, but he also said:- It will be expensive as hell. Of course we realised at that moment that we would probably not buy it, not until the prices go down. We never did buy it, we focused on getting Xbox instead, when the console was released. I always felt that virtual reality games are quite amazing, how you can experience something different, that would be difficult to experience in real life. There have been some films made that bring up the subject of virtual reality, and one of the films that i am pretty sure a lot of you have seen, is the 1992 science-fiction horror film The Lawnmower Man, from director Brett Leonard. This film is based on the short story by author Stephen King, and this film adaptation tells the story of Dr. Lawrence ( played by actor Pierce Brosnan ), a scientist who decides to do an experiment on intellectually disabled gardener Jobe Smith ( played by actor Jeff Fahey ), in an effort to give him greater intelligence. The Lawnmower Man does bring up some interesting ideas about virtual reality in science, but if you look at the film today, you will probably see that the CGI effects have not aged really well. Still a film worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of Stephen King films. Have you heard of director Louise Warren? She is a very active independent horror director, who have directed quite a lot of films. I have seen two of her films so far, and i especially remember Scarecrow´s Revenge. But not for a good reason, because this film have some of the worst sword fighting scenes i have ever seen. I can accept the look of the scarecrow, but the viking battle scenes are not good. I did like the idea of the film, that this film takes place in the year of 802, in Northern England. But there are so many problems i could mention with this film, but let´s leave that for now. Instead, i was curious to see Louise Warren´s film Virtual Death Match, that have actually had more positive reviews than Scarecrow´s Revenge. An independent horror film that tries using a virtual reality game into the plot, does it work better than i expected, or is Virtual Death Match just as bad as Donald Trump´s orange mascara?

A group of gamers are selected to take part in a VR competition. They believe this is just a game, but are about to find out, that this is no ordinary game......

If you have seen some of the films from director Louisa Warren, you know that she is not afraid to try different kind of horror stories. And i have to be honest, Virtual Death Match is in my opinion her best independent film so far. That does not mean this film does not have problems, but compared to the films i have seen from her before, this one is actually better made, and have better characters than in her previous films. This film have a more interesting story than her previous films, and i also feel that the idea of playing a virtual reality game is actually quite a fun idea, in the way that this game works. Each level of the game offers different types of killers, and this is where the film works best if you ask me. Even if the CGI effects look cheap, and the killers may not be dressed unique, they actually make this game fun to watch. I enjoy the nun killers mostly, because who would not want to fight nuns with cross knives? If you can accept some of the bad acting from certain characters, Virtual Death Match manage to find a way to tell a story for almost 2 hours about a virtual reality game. How does the gamer characters work in this film? For the most part they are actually not that bad. I would not say they are acting great, but their characters match with the plot. I especially enjoy actor Richard D. Myers ( who you will recognize from Scarecrow´s Revenge ) as Ian, a very confident player of this game. Richard make his character feel a bit like an asshole, who is actually right about certain things while he plays the game. Actress Sarah T. Cohen ( who have quite many films coming out later this year and in 2022, including the Robert Bronzi film The Gardener, that i am really excited about ) as the character Jill. Now, this is the perfect kind of character for a film like this, who definetely is a survivor type of person. How does this film work from a horror perspective? It is not scary, it´s more like a horror comedy, but trying to be a horror film that feels inspired by Hostel and The Purge, with a complete different plot. Virtual Death Match is most likely appreciated by fans of low budget horror films, that are perhaps a bit different from the usual DVD release. This is definetely the best work from director Louisa Warren, and i hope she makes a sequel with more crazy killer characters. Who said virtual reality games are no fun? I think Virtual Death Match might teach you a lesson, that could change your mind.

Rating: DDD

If you want to watch Virtual Death Match, you can watch it for free on the film YouTube channel Film Freaks By FilmIsNow, and you can just copy the link here to get to the film:


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