Death Warmed Up (1984) Movie Review
Written By: K.M.C.
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: David Blynth
Producers: Murray Newey
Writers: David Blynth, Michael Heath
Date Released: 1984
Michael Hurst as Michael Tucker
Margaret Umpers as Sandy
Gary Day as Dr. Howell
William Upjohn as Lucas
Norelle Scott as Jeannie
David Letch as Spider
Bruno Lawrence as Tex
Geoff Snell as Jannings
Ian Watkin as Bill
Rating = 2.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Dr. Howell, a mad scientist who has developed mind controlling and body dysmorphic drugs, decides to test these drugs on human beings. One of those being Michael Tucker, who he forces to kill his parents after injecting him with one of his mind controlling serums. After being institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital for seven years, Michael decides to get revenge on Dr. Howell. Michael devices a plan and gets together with his girlfriend, and two of their friends. Initially, Michaels tells the group that they are going to check out World War III bunkers when in reality, they are headed to Dr. Howell’s laboratory base. The situation takes a horrifying turn when the group starts to see that Michael wasn’t the only one who was tested on.
Most of the film is engulfed by blood splatters and deep cut wounds that can lead the audience to turn their heads away every now and then. Director, David Blynth did not hold back on making sure that the special effects used in these gory scenes were as real as possible. The blood used in the film is incredibly close to what real life blood looks like. From removed craniums to jagged options penetrating the sternum, Blynth made sure to go all out with every scene that incorporates blood and guts.
The Grave Review
It is interesting that Death Warmed Up commands a cult following but surprisingly, the film receives little coverage. It is an incredibly odd film that leaves one questioning the intelligence of the main characters as well as questioning how they even got as far as they did. What makes the film so unsettling is not the amount of gore scenes but rather the cruelty that the main characters show to one another. From Spider ignoring his friend’s clear cries for help to Michael prioritizing his revenge plan over the well being of his “loved ones”, it really does leave you questioning whether or not anyone cared about each other in this film.
Blynth made sure to zoom in on every killing scene no matter how much of an impact it may have had. There were no moments where a killing was made off screen. Not only is the film unsettling, but also disorienting. The cinematography was truly all over the place. It is difficult to say whether the camera work was intentionally inconsistent or attempting to create an artistic approach. For example, scenes tend to transition from stable shots to wobbly shots as well as shots that have a different quality grade. As such, these shots go back and forth which is distracting and may not be seen in the most positive light by some.
Death Warmed Up is a questionable and grimey film. It is a film that feels all too real not only in terms of the gory scenes exhibited but also with the actors execution of their roles. Main character, Michael Tucker (played by Michael Hurst) took the trophy in exhibiting the many emotional stages of trauma within his character which is exceptional towards the end of the film. Sandy (played by Margaret Umpers) is a close runner up in her performance as she exhibits trauma in real time after going through the murder of her friends and the several attacks inflicted by the zombie-like patients of Dr. Howell.
If you see past the poor cinematic work and the mediocre script, Death Warmed Up is not the worst film we reviewed but its not great either.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Death Warmed Up (1984) two and a half graves out of five graves.
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