Having previously reviewed Sam Salerno’s The Dark Side Of The Womb I was thrilled when Sam offered me a look at his new short. When I finally got a chance to sit down and watch Death By 1000 Cuts however I was in for a shock. Where his feature was an outrageous comedy, this is played very dark, very serious and very brutal.
“Death by a thousand cuts refers to an ancient torture in which numerous small cuts were made on the victim’s body. None of the cuts by themselves were deadly, but the combination would cause the victim to die a slow painful death.” A narrator informs us at the film’s beginning. As we see footage of its application.
From here we join horror video blogger Johnny (Brett Burrier, Kiss My Ashes). He thinks he has a line on the series of real-life disappearances in the area. This being a horror film he’s going alone to investigate and film what he finds. He breaks into the empty house and finds videos of killings. Body parts, bodies and the still living Christina (Rosie Koocher). Then the owners return, Mr. Grey (Art Roberts, Attack In LA, The Haunting of La Llorona), Mrs. Gray (JC Sullivan) and The Torturer (Aaron Berjohn, The Axiom).
Death By 1000 Cuts delivers a lot of gore, and realistic looking gore at that. Right from the go, you know this is a totally different beast than Salerno’s previous films. There are some shocking images including a blanket made of skinned faces. And Salerno himself meeting a nasty end as a victim in one of the snuff videos. The makeup by Allie Shehorn and James Bell is disgustingly first rate.
However, just when you think Death By 1000 Cuts is going to go full August Underground it swerves off in a different direction. Different, but no less brutal or depressing. This is the film House Of 1000 Corpses wishes it could have been.
Salerno has shown a totally different aspect of his talents, and what kind of range he has as a filmmaker. After Death By 1,000 Cuts, I have no idea what he’ll do next, but I want to see it.
Death By 1,000 Cuts will be released shortly by Toxic Filth Video. You can check the film’s Facebook page for updates.