Deathgasm ★★½

A bloody mess that strives for laughs over scares, pouring a trough of guttural porridge over the screen as the characters make jokes about erections. It's a fantastical reimagining of the typical high-school/college movie. With a band of outsiders reluctantly finding themselves becoming heroes, whilst simultaneously receiving waves of abuse from the "popular kids". What Deathgasm does differently is that it in no way takes itself, or any of its characters seriously. So, what could have quickly become tired and played out, instead feels, despite the heads and limbs getting mashed up, lighthearted and fun.

The characters we follow are a group of idiots, idiots with guitars and leather jackets. They find meaning and purpose within the music they listen to and play. They're angry at the world, but half of that seems to be teenage posturing and the other half just naive confusion. So despite their apparent fury, they just look a little lost - which helps establish them as sympathetic protagonists. After all, this is a film in which the majority of the laughs come at their expense - so to have a gang of fearsome and stoic leading characters just wouldn't work.

Once the bedlam begins, which is right away, the film is quick to deliver wave after wave of expressive practical effects. Many of which feel so impressive largely due to the overall absurdity. The vibrant blend of guts, broken bones and vomit that fellow New Zealand director Peter Jackson played around with such creativity all those years ago. Although, unlike films like Braindead & Bad Taste, Deathgasm reaches a crescendo just after the halfway point. The blend of blood and metal doesn't really carry the film for as long as it needs to, even with the self-reflexive commentary it begins to feel a little stale.

It's purposefully ridiculous and yet at the same time commits to a fair representation of metal music aficionados. It might appear to be laughing at some of their misguided assumptions and behaviours, but it stops short of trying to make fun of the genre. If anything the film is pointing and laughing at the absurd worldview of teenage boys, fully embracing a confused and chaotic perspective, which when combined with comic book decapitations and spiked dog collars, is pretty funny.

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