UFF 6 Review: Everybody Dies By The End Violently Tackles Big Ideas With Sincere Hilarity
“I would equate it to like organs inside a body, you need all the organs to match together to pump whatever goo is inside your body like pee, and blood.” These are the colorful words Alfred Costella (Vinny Curran, Resolution) uses to describe what a film is, in terms of working parts, when asked by a talk show host (Bill Oberst Jr., 3 From Hell) during the disastrous televised interview that opens Ian Tripp and Ryan Schafer’s horror-comedy mockumentary Everybody Dies By The End. Lines like these and the subsequent meltdown that caps off the scene give viewers a small but convincing idea of Alfred’s eccentric nature, which primarily drives the events of the entire narrative, before introducing the filmmakers who will be shooting a behind the scenes documentary on the making of Alfred’s upcoming “magnum opus” Everybody Dies By The End. Videographer Calvin (Tripp himself, wielding the camera) and his “sound guy” Mark (Joshua Wyble, operating the boom) are fans of Costella who, after receiving the call about the job, excitedly head out to his desert compound dubbed “Camp Costella” to begin filming.
Upon their arrival they’re greeted by an equally eccentric roster of “assistants” strangely dressed just like Costella and whose behavior is an immediate red flag, but basically impossible not to laugh at. This sentiment rings true throughout the majority of the film’s ninety minute runtime, which is comprised mainly of awkward situations and charmingly off-putting dialogue (much of it from Curran, who embodies a crazed auteur with his amazing performance) that perfectly conveys the central themes. There’s an ever-present, morbid sense of humor that both contrasts and empowers the foreboding first half of the film, where the power structure continuously grows clearer through organically delivered character dynamics. Though many genre fans can be apprehensive when it comes to the combination of comedy and horror, Everybody Dies By The End blends the two effortlessly through cleverly structured meta-textual sequences that gradually ramp up in intensity. The framing and pace at which information is revealed keeps viewers constantly questioning the intentions of all involved parties, in turn allowing the film to remain highly engaging on a moment to moment level while still being consistently hilarious.
Thematically the film tackles the eternal nature of art — specifically independent art where the creators commit everything they have to their work, sometimes to the detriment of themselves and everyone around them. It manages to unpack these ideas with violently flying colors (mostly red) and boasts some excellent effects work from front to back. There’s bullet squibs, blood hoses, brain hemorrhaging, lacerations, and one of the finest “deaths-by-television” since Scream (1996). According to the directors during a Q&A conducted after the film’s screening at the sixth annual Unnamed Footage Festival, nearly all of this was accomplished via in-camera, practical effects: an impressive accomplishment for such a small budget. Via it’s pairing of on-screen violence and thought-provoking ideas, Everybody Dies By The End manages to be a highly entertaining exploration of the (sometimes dangerously obsessive) artistic process, as well our species’ seemingly endless fascination with consuming violent media. Everybody Dies By The End is currently making the rounds on the festival circuit, but you can check out the trailer below for a taste of what’s in store when it releases later this year.