Angel of Death

The Sound of Horror

If I was asked to give some kind of advice to young filmmakers – I haven’t been, but if I was – I’d start with this: The audience may forgive poor acting, direction, out of focus shots, and even a completely stupid story, but one thing that will turn off an audience every time is BAD SOUND. If you can’t afford anything else, at least be sure that your sound recording is acceptable so at least your actors can be heard and every scene isn’t drowned in fuzz and static.

Other than missing this important point, writer/director Dave Lawler has created an interesting film here. Despite a title that recalls vintage Charles Bronson, it’s a down-to-earth tale about a computer programmer named Kelly (tall, blonde, accented Rika Daniel) who is suffering a bout of general ennui. She dislikes her job, wants to get a new apartment, has a crush on a guy she sees in the park – and she also feels some sort of weird affinity for the mass murderer she sees on the TV news. Though she seems to be making progress to solve some of these issues, she feels trapped. Things get weirder, as she (and other characters) begin having blackout episodes, spacing out in the middle of conversations. She even begins to exhibit a bit of telekinesis. Is she losing her mind? Can her actress best friend help her? Is there some connection between her exterminator boyfriend and the “Angel of Death” the killer says directed his crime?

The answers aren’t clear, at least as far as I could tell. Though the performances are very good (especially by Daniel and Monique Taylor, who plays her best friend) it’s difficult to make out what is being said. Though Lawler displays a great deal of talent with the camera, achieving some sophisticated effects and nice compositions, at 117 minutes the film is way too long. It could lose 40 minutes and be stronger for it, but even that would be too long to suffer through the bad sound. I apologize if I just got a bad screener tape, but I can only say I might have enjoyed this film if it hadn’t given me a headache.

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