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One Hour to Die

UK 2011
produced by
Melanie Denholme, Warren Croyle (executive) for Chemical Burn
directed by Philip Gardiner
starring Melanie Denholme, Anna Batho, Robert Holden, Rob Ireland, Jessica Messenger, Philip Gardiner
story deviced by Philip Gardiner, improvised by the cast, songs by Sylvana White, No Redemption

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Available on DVD !

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It's just your typical birthday party Shirl (Melanie Denholme) and her husband Steve (Philip Gardiner) are throwing for their best friend, Father O'Brien (Robert Holden), who just happens to be a priest: Shirl is a control freak who tries to over-organize everything, even if that's less than appreciated, Steve has just bought himself a new camera, so now he's hell-bent on filming everything, much to the annoyance of everyone, then there's the typical boring couple, Nate (Rob Ireland) and Toni (Anna Batho), who seem to suck the life out of everything, and then there's Shirl's little sister Jess (Jessica Messenger), who really doesn't fit in with the rest of the group due to her immature and slightly slutty behaviour. In fact, she clashes with Shirl almost constantly, and it's not at all helped by the fact that Steve gives her (or rather some of her bodyparts) more than her fair share of screen-time.

After your typical borderline-entertaining party games, many moments of awkward silence, and of course the birthday cake, Father O'Brien gets to read his birthday cards - including one telling everyone the cake they've just eaten was poisoned, they've got one hour to die. But there's an antidote hidden somewhere in the house, and clues to it are hidden all over the place - but the clues can only be found ... by plaing more party games.

At the beginning, nobody takes this really serious, actually everybody thinks it's just some sick partyjoke, and because of the card's insistance on playing partygames, they suspect Shirl. Actually, they initially only put up with this game of "finding clues" only to please Shirl, and so they play pop-the-balloon, dress-up and the like, only to find more and more tiny sheets containing hints. The fact that everybody gets uncharacteristically hot and strung out though is the first indication that something's not right, and when Father O'Brien's parcel contains a container of blood - not what Shirl has wrapped -, well, that's not a good sign. Toni is the first to have a complete breakdown, and now our little birthday partyers have to come to the realization what's going on is (literally) dead-serious. But in a panic situation like this, old rifts between pretty much everyone break up anew, which certainly doesn't help.

Will they survive? And who's trying to kill them?


Shot entirely in one take (though not in one shot, besides Philip Gardiner's hand-held camera, there are a couple of hidden static cameras all over the place), this film was entirely improvised over a skeletal concept by its director - a risky experiment ... but it works just great, due to on one hand a very solid and properly macabre concept that has a very natural build-up to it, on the other thanks to an excellent ensemble cast who really bring their characters to life and create a chemestry between themselves. On top of that, the film with all its stupid partygames, boring conversations and awkward silences ... is just creepy as hell.

Totally recommended!


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


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Michael Haberfelner


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