A disparate group of bored Canadian teens while away the long, hot, ennui-laden Summer at a drug and booze-fuelled pool party, making out, playing Truth Or Dare? and giving their siblings the kind of lap dance that would make a less jaded gathering wonder just what the Hell goes on at their house at Thanksgiving.

 While indulging in a little alone time with her boyfriend (quite literally sitting on his face!), Ashley (Emelia Hellman) discovers a mysterious board game, The Game Of Death, in a dusty corner and the group decides to play, each of them placing a thumb on one of eight skulls around the board which unexpectedly pricks them, drawing blood. A counter in the centre of the game resets to 24, the number of victims the game demands, a countdown begins, the only instructions to “Kill or be killed!” 

None of the teens take the game seriously until suddenly one unfortunate douche’s head swells and explodes, covering the others in gore. The counter resets to 23 and the countdown begins again. Realising that if they don’t play the game and start murdering people, the game will kill them all one by one, the survivors, led by quasi-incestuous siblings Tom and Beth (Sam Earle and Victoria Diamond) in pizza (and drug) delivery boy Tyler’s (Erniel Baez Duenas) car and head off on a killing spree… 

Growing out of Quebcois co-directors Landry and Baz Morais’ web-series of the same name and featuring possibly the best exploding heads since fellow Canuck David Cronenberg’s Scanners, Game Of Death is a cheeky little splatterfest that takes it’s Jumanji-From-Hell premise to it’s logical extreme by playfully switching to 8-bit and having it’s young protagonists stage a massacre in a hospice. 

None of the characters are particularly likable before their heads start exploding, though they become more sympathetic when forced to confront the moral quandary of killing to survive while wearing the contents of their BFFs cranium and, while we’re obviously expected as an audience to side with good (well, goodish) girl Ashley and pizza boy Tyler (the closest thing in the film to a recognisable human being) who’re concerned with the morality of their actions, nascent psychopath Tom and his sassy sister Beth are a lot more fun, Tom’s determination to keep them both alive spelling bad news for any jogger, cop or pre-pubescent cancer sufferer who crosses their path. 

As tasteless and fun as you’d expect a film featuring gratuitous exploding heads, lashings of gore and hot homicidal teens, at just 73 minutes of tightly packed mayhem, Game Of Death may just be the perfect FrightFest film.


Horror Channel Frightfest Review: Game Of Death
4.0Overall Score
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