'All You Need Is Death' Is A Bit Of A Puzzle Of A Movie

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A movie review of 'All You Need Is Death'

The Cast

The main cast in the movie comprises of four actors. Simone Collins, known for her roles in The Last Duel and Barber, portrays Anna, a young singer and folk song collector. Collins's portrayal becomes particularly poignant when events take a turn for the worse. 

Charlie Maher, seen in Black Narcissus and Blue Lights, plays AleksAnna's charming yet somewhat cocky boyfriend. Maher's performance shines as Aleks becomes increasingly unstable. Catherine Siggins, recognized for her work in The Scam and Happy Horror Days, plays Agnes. Although the character could have been further developed, Siggins effectively conveys a sense of both power and a hint of menace in her role.

And finally, Nigel O'Neill, known for Boys From County Hell and Vikings, delivers a moving performance as Breezeblock, the son of the song-keeper. Breezeblock's tragic backstory helps to add depth to the group.

About The Movie

Anna and Aleks  are amateur historians exploring rural Ireland and visiting remote pubs to document folk ballads. They become fascinated by rumors of an elderly woman in the area who can sing a thousand-year-old song, passed down orally from mother to daughter and never actually having been written down.

In their quest, they befriend Agnes a researcher of these songs who appears to harbor ulterior motives in uncovering them. Their journey leads them to Rita Concannon, who shares a rare song with them. However, when Rita's son Breezeblock finds his mother deceased shortly after their encounter, it sets off a series of bizarre events that will leave a lasting impact on them all.

My Thoughts

Now, I found this movie a bit of a puzzle, a puzzle that has missing pieces. The filmmaker clearly had a vision and a message,, but it's all a bit too ambiguous, and tries to be a bit too clever. Too many scenes dwell for too long and not enough is explained and plot never really gains much momentum.

The central characters' pursuit of folk songs lacks relatability as well, I think, especially when presented so ambiguously, resulting in a first half that feels very disjointed. Nothing wrong with a mysterious plot of course, but you never really understand what is actually happening. By the time the final act happens, which is the best bit of the film, I felt like I just did not care much at this point.

The biggest plus point of the film though is its atmosphere, it does immerse you with the tribal music and haunting sounds throughout. Shot in Dublin, it captures the essence of small-town life in the Irish countryside, with dimly lit streets and decrepit homes and warehouses setting the scene. It exudes a dank ambiance. The film features creepy shadows, skeletal monsters, ancient druids, and a final creature that defies description. 

There's no doubt that All You Need Is Death is a distinctive film. It utilizes folk music as a foundation for exploring various themes, with the most prominent one being the oral tradition of storytelling, particularly through music. But, despite the potential, it all feels somewhat incomplete. 

While the foundational elements are present, the cryptic and unexplained aspects leave too much open to interpretation. This ambiguity extends to both the nature of the song and certain elements of the couples' search that culminate in its discovery. Maybe I am just a bit thick, but I found it difficult to know what the hell was going on really.

The film is pretty messy overall, and the premise never actually really delivers what you want it to, and if you want to watch a recent folk horror movie, I would recommend you check out The Medium instead.

4/10 from me! [Check out All You Need Is Death on IMDB]

Watch The Trailer

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