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Death Count

USA 2022
produced by
Michael Mahal, Sonny Mahal, Jamal Alsaqer (executive), BJ Mezek (executive) for Mahal Empire, Mezek Films, Blaen-Y-Maes Bootleg Films
directed by Michael Su
starring Costas Mandylor, Michael Madsen, Robert LaSardo, Sarah French, BJ Mezek, Devanny Pinn, Wesley Cannon, Denny Nolan, Dave Shecter, Kimberly Lynn Cole, Dee Cutrone, Charles Solomon jr, Mark Justice, Mia ScozzaFave, Robert B. Oliver, Jeffrey Bele, William 'Bill' Connor, Kevin Hager, Lance Caver, Mindy Gilkerson, Jeremy Spencer, Michael Su, Zach Muhs, Jean Heathen, Stephen Satterfield, Michael Beran, Ben Stobber, Scott Cassin, Andre Carbonell, Natasha Janina Valdez, Julie Grace, Kyrillos Saber, Rudy Ledbetter, Michelle Hill, Nick Ford, Edward Stachyra, Lisa Hinds, Elizabeth Noelle Japhet, Dennyann Giambrone, James Dormuth, King Jeff, Chase Christensen, Gorio, Hans Hernke
written by Michael Merino, revisions by Rolfe Kanefsky, music by Scott Glasgow, makeup effects by Nightmare Nevada

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Eight strangers (Robert Lasardo, Sarah French, BJ Mezek, Devanny Pinn, Wesley Cannon, Denny Nolan, Dave Shecter, Kimberly Lynn Cole) find themselves locked away into individual cells, and they're told by their jailer, the Warden (Costas Mandylor) that they've forcibly become part of an internet show where they have to self-mutilate in order to gain likes, and whoever has the least likes will be eliminated - meaning killed in a very gruesome way. And to keep the contestants in line, bombs are attached to their necks that can be remote controlled, they are chained to the wall, and some death traps are installed into their cells - in other words, they're pretty much fucked. Now what's still in favour of the eight is the police have long picked up the trail of the Warden, who hasn't been too careful when it came to obscure his tracks, and two detectives (Michael Madsen, Charles Solomon jr) are rather quickly closing in on his location. But that said, the Warden sees to it that the game, including eliminations, moves along very swiftly. And the longer the game goes the more the contestants find out they're actually all connected - by a dark spot in their past they'd all much rather forget ...


Now this is not a movie for those faint of heart (or stomach), as its story in itself is shocking - also because it perfectly mirrors the darker areas of the web - , and because it doesn't hold back in terms of gruesomeness, showing the acts of self mutilations of its protagonists in quite some detail. But the film's really more than just another piece of torture porn - even if it shows quite some unmistakable parallels to Saw -, as it puts some weight into its backstory as well as doing some decent character work, and besides it also works as a twisted social commentary. Plus, a very solid cast and a direction that finds the right balance between explicit violence and utter tension help make this one rather strong piece of genre cinema.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
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and your Ex wants
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD