Beaten to Death

September 1, 202350/1005 min
Starring
David Tracy, Thomas Roach, Nicole Tudor
Written by
Sam Curtain and Benjamin Jung-Clarke
Directed by
Sam Curtain
Run Time
1h 32min
Release Date
September 1st, 2023
Overall Score
Rating Summary

Sometimes, all it takes to grab my attention for a movie is a good title. Needless to say, a movie called Beaten to Death is going to catch my eye because how could you go wrong with a movie having that title? However, it seems a few things could indeed go wrong. While the movie doesn’t disappoint with its title, some choices were made that lessen the impact of what should have been a much more enjoyable ride.

Jack (Thomas Roach) and his girlfriend Rachel (Nicole Tudor) have reached a point in their lives where bad decisions seem like the right choices. Seeking to make a quick buck, they venture out into the middle of nowhere to meet a guy who was recommended to them in order to obtain some drugs they could sell. Things don’t go well, and when they anger the seller by what he perceives as playing games, the situation turns violent. Rachel doesn’t survive and Jack, after a brutal beating, manages to fend off his attacker and flee for help. He eventually encounters someone named Ned (David Tracy), who agrees to assist Jack in sorting everything out. However, Ned isn’t a friend. It turns out that the group Jack tangled with were related to Ned, and he’s not pleased with what happened to them. As for Jack, things are about to get much worse, where death would be a welcomed outcome.

Written by Benjamin Jung-Clarke and Sam Curtain (who also directed), Beaten to Death doesn’t disappoint with its edginess. Jack finds himself trapped in a forty-eight-hour trip to hell, while for us, all of that is condensed into a tight ninety-two-minute package. Curtain delivers beautifully shot scenes, and the reliance on outdoor locations gives the movie a mythic feel. While the setting might be something to behold, everything else you see is rather disturbing. The film is replete with gore, including a torture scene that most would prefer to watch through their fingers. If gore isn’t your thing, Beaten to Death doesn’t offer much else, as this movie is intended for a specific audience, most of whom will relish it.

As someone who enjoys movies like this, Beaten to Death didn’t quite connect with me as much as I thought it would. The disconnect for me comes from the narrative choice, which I believe hurts the movie. It does so by revealing the outcome early on, raising questions that leave you waiting for answers. In my opinion, it would have worked better if presented chronologically. This narrative choice diminishes the impact of the film, making its punches land with less force. What we end up with is a watered-down version of what could have been. Nevertheless, there’s still plenty to enjoy, especially if you appreciate unapologetic gore and violence, in which case, Curtain delivers with gusto.

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