A Horrible Way to Die (2010) Review

Posted March 31, 2017 by in Drama


Our Score

3.5/ 5

Length: 1h 27min
Release Date: 19 August 2011 (USA)
Genre: , ,
MPAA Rating:
Actor: ,


Tense, disturbing and never dull. Garrick Turrell is a fascinating and dark character.


Some of the camera work gets frustrating at times.

Filled with dread and shot like it’s actually happening; A Horrible Way to Die is tense and unpredictable with a fascinating character in Garrick Turrell. It’s not a fun watch but horror fans will eat it up.

by Eoin Friel
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Plot: An escaped murderer is in pursuit of his ex-girlfriend, who has fled to start a new life in a small town.

Review: Adam Wingard is one of the more interesting voices working in horror cinema today and A Horrible Way to Die was one of his earliest projects but really showed that we could expect great things from him. It’s dripping with a threatening atmosphere right from the start and although it doesn’t get overly gory it still manages to be disturbing.

The cast are all very natural and don’t seem like they are acting which is difficult to pull off but it almost has a documentary feel.

AJ Bowen is magnetic as serial killer Garrick Turrell who tries to control his urges but usually fails and then hates himself for it. At times he can come across as almost charming which disarms you into a false sense of security before he then kills someone. He breaks down at several points after he murders as he wants to give his girlfriend Sarah (Amy Seimetz) a normal relationship but knows it’s something he can never do.

The narrative switches from past and present throughout where we get flashbacks of Sarah discovering who Garrick is and she eventually calls the cops on him. The present story has her as an alcoholic going to meetings, living in witness protection and essentially living in terror that that he will eventually come after her.

When Garrick breaks out of prison, she fears the worst but she befriends another guy at her meetings who appears to be really nice and will keep her safe from harm. All is not what it seems however, and it escalates into an unexpected finale. You really feel for poor Sarah who really goes through Hell and Amy does a fantastic job of making her feel like a real person.

Throughout the movie the camera makes you feel like a voyeur watching something you aren’t supposed to and there are several moments where you know something horrific is going to happen and you’re grateful that the scene cuts. There are a few violent moments and the stand out is Garrick taking a kitchen knife to some people who recognized him in a bar. The climactic 15 minutes are a tough watch and it gets almost unbearably tense.

As with so many modern movies however, it is let down by some frustrating shaky cam which made me feel nauseous at a couple of points which was very frustrating. Aside from that I liked how it was darkly lit which really added to the grim atmosphere.

Overall, A Horrible Way to Die isn’t exactly a fun or easy watch but it’s filled with dread and Garrick is one of the more interesting serial killers you’ll seen on screen; definitely worth checking out once at least.

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About the Author

Eoin Friel

I started The Action Elite a few years ago; it's grown from strength to strength but now seems like the right time to expand. I've always loved different movie genres like horror, sci-fi and dramas so you'll see a wide range of different movies covered here.


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