Review: A Lovely Death

Written and directed by Miguel del Campo, lonely and longing for love, The Grim Reaper finds hope after saving an innocent girl from an abusive relationship. Starring: Chantal Casutt, Roy Shellef and Nico Elia Wander.

It’s an interesting idea to explore the grim reaper with a sympathetic side, to not simply be taking the lives of those fate has decided but to be helpful of those in need. In that sense it almost feels like it would be suited to a dark comedy. However, Miguel del Campo takes things down a more sombre route, it’s attempting to build romance and emotion, with a touch of drama. Although the story moves slowly which isn’t in balance with the simplicity of the plot. It isn’t giving itself a lot of room to develop and make a few more stops before it reaches its end.

The directorial style and tone reflect most closely that of silent film, which is very appropriate as it feels as though it’s emanating the macabre horror of the 1930s. It’s topped with a score that pushes that tone even further but it also doesn’t feel as though it completely committed to it. The aesthetic isn’t matching that atmosphere, it’s hitting an extremely everyday note. It’s missing that certain edge of darkness or a variety to amplify the romance and emotion, or give them a bigger sincerity.

With the performances being fairly limited by the story, in that it’s very contained, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to add personality and charisma. Unfortunately that means, much like the story itself, they feel simple and it’s a shame not to have fleshed out Felicity’s (Chantal Casutt) character more. The connection between Felicity and The Grim Reaper (Roy Shellef) also comes across fairly platonically, it falls more into a mutual admiration rather than a romance.

A Lovely Death has a concept that had the potential to be something unusual and darkly comedic but takes a simpler dramatic tone. The romance struggles to build itself up as it’s missing a variety or deeper emotion to see it through. It’s dipping its toes into the era of silent film horror but it’s a shame that it doesn’t fully commit to it, to add the aesthetic to bring it all together.

Verdict: ✯✯ | 4/10

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