Playing the final day of this year’s Unnamed Footage Festival, Everybody Dies by the End lives up to its name. Someone reading this right now is yelling at the screen, “BRO!?!?! Where was the spoiler alert?” but come on y’all, the title forecasts the finale. But I promise you, it ruins absolutely nothing!
In this found footage gem, cult horror director Alfred Costella (Vinny Curran) is back to make his magnum opus after years and years living out of the public eye. An insane public outburst on an interview show leads to the seeming end of his career. But after years away from the camera, he is back and making one final film… and he’s hired a fantastic documentarian who is also a big fan of his to document the process.
Of course, Costella is a mad man, a real asshole auteur. And to that end, the lengths to which he’ll go to accomplish his final masterpiece are beyond what anyone could expect. Even if you figure that just about everyone is going to die, since the film’s title tells you that, there are quite a few surprises along the way. And the third act… well, that’s a real doozy.
The cast is fantastic. Besides Curran’s great job as the unhinged lead, the film prominently features a cast of relatively unknown genre actors who all nail their given roles. Iliyana Apostolova is particuarly fantastic as Allison, the star of Costella’s final film. Brendan Cahalan as Costella’s assistant Grant is also particular a joy on the screen. But it’s the entire cast’s ability to play it straight while still creating some dark laughs for the viewer that really makes it all work. It also features the great Bill Oberst Jr, which – alone – should be a selling point for any independent genre film fans.
The film’s pacing isn’t always perfect and there are certainly periods in which it can lag in the middle. Fans of the found footage genre will most certainly be forgiving of this because it’s a feature of the medium in a lot of ways, notably films that stick pretty closely to the rules of pure found footage – something this film generally does. Yet, any issues one may find with pacing are quickly forgotten once the film’s final act really kicks into gear. In fact, it’s one of the better finales in the medium that this reviewer has seen in quite some time.
In other words, folks in San Francisco and the surrounding area should get out and check this one out on Sunday, as it’s a truly fantastic genre film that is extremely fun, very easy to follow, and features some fantastic practical kills.
Everybody Dies by the End plays at 7:15 PM Sunday night and information can be found at unnamedfootagefestival.com. Grab your tickets now and get your ass to the 4-Star.