One of my favorite independent filmmakers working today is Steve Rudzinski. He has made some great movies and when I saw Everyone Must Die on his table at Grossfest and found out it was a Slasher flick I knew I had to cover it for this summer’s marathon.
Things open with a masked killer chasing a woman who he catches and kills. This is important because it is the sister of another character that shows up later. We then see some campers setting up camp before pairing off for some sexy time, but with an unexpected and funny twist. The killer from before shows up and murders happen. Now we meet up with our primary cast who are at a party when they are trapped inside by the killer. One by one they are killed off in funny ways until there is the final girl. I can’t go any further without spoilers, but this doesn’t end as you might expect it to.
This is a very low budget movie, so I’ll get somethings out of the way at the start. The acting isn’t always great, but it is far better than I’ve seen in some independent movies. Though if you aren’t well versed in them it might bug you. The kills lean heavily into old school tricks with a lot of the good stuff happening off screen or delegated to some CGI. Again, given the limited resources that the director had to work with this doesn’t bother me at all. What it sometimes lacks in quality it more than makes up for in quantity as we see sixteen characters die on screen. The highlights are death by lawn mower, a skewering thru a seat, and a decent stabbing. I’m actually amazed at how much fun Everyone Must Die is when considering the miniscule budget of thirty-five hundred dollars.
The next question is why does this movie work for me when others with a similar budget challenges don’t. The answer is easy and that is the writing. Rudzinski doesn’t just direct, fund, and shoot his movies. He is also responsible for writing them as well, in this instance with a co-writer. His talent as a writer is what makes his movies stand apart from so many other inferior efforts. This shows up not only in the excellent and sometimes hilarious dialogue, but in other ways as well.
The opening bit with the campers both gives what you would expect with young people going off in the woods to fool around, but he tweaks it a bit. Messing with expectations like that is a cool way to play with the formula. Plus, it also allows him to make a wildly funny and memorable character along the way… R.I.P. MC Pink! Tying in both of my points there is a bit in the movie where the killer pulls a gun. You don’t see that in a Slasher flick and Rudzinski has one of the characters make note of it with some dialogue. It goes something like this. “Why does he have a gun?” To which another character replies “To shoot people with.” This shows the tweaking of the formula as well as the excellent dialogue. Are you beginning to see why I like his movies so much?
If you are looking for an effects heavy Slasher movie to watch with explicit and intricate kills, then this isn’t the one for you. But If you are looking for a change of pace and want to check out a great independent filmmaker then I can highly recommend Everyone Must Die. If you dig this then you must check out CarousHell too.
© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer
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