All Must Die review

Some horror movies take the simple route of having a force of nature stalking and killing innocent victims. Other horror films, like All Must Die, attempt a more cerebral approach where everything hinges on a big twist landing.

All Must Die has a terrific premise —Gina (Viktoria Winge) is whisked away by her closest girl friends for a surprise bachelorette party. Since Gina is a horror fan, the girls take her to an isolated cabin in the woods for their revelry.

Gina neglects to mention to her pals that she and her fiancé, Even (Anders Rydning), have a terrible fight and he suggests calling the wedding off. No need to let a potential runaway groom get in the way of a good party though, right?

all must die review - toasting

In an odd twist, Gina’s friends Marte (Tinashe Williamson) and Stine (Marte Sæteren), decide to invite Gina’s exes to the party as well. This doesn’t seem like the best idea. Not that it matters since the guys are a no-show anyway.

After downing several beers and skinny dipping in the nearby lake, the girls kick off the heart of the party — having Gina decipher clues spread among the grounds — while an axe-wielding cloaked figure is stalking her.

But what if this mystery figure isn’t part of the entertainment?

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Director/co-writer Geir Greni and co-writer Robert Næss have the basics down. The early setup is interesting and the banter between the girls is well done. Character backstories are helpfully provided as the girls explain their connections to Gina.

Clearly there’s potential with this concept, which should lead to Gina, her bridesmaids and exes getting hunted down one by one by the killer.

And that’s where All Must Die unravels.

all must die review - gina decked out

Greni makes the fatal horror movie mistake of relying too hard too soon on jump scares. The continued use diminishes their impact even when it’s warranted.

Winge is solid throughout, but the performers around her become markedly less convincing when the horror elements kick off. The cast credibly conveyed a group of girls hanging out and having a wild night, but all of that organic delivery of lines vanishes when they’re called to act like they’re terrified for their lives.

all must die review - elise and camilla

These performances are so shaky that it’s not entirely clear they’re not in on some gag until they start getting stabbed and gutted. Likewise, the death scenes aren’t satisfying either as the killer moves in slow motion and the victims rarely take any significant measures to escape or fight back.

The payoff doesn’t hold up upon much inspection. It seems like Greni and Næss reach the same conclusion as they attempt to explain — poorly — how everything developed. This extended explanation only begs more questions and doesn’t make sense.

all must die review - bonfire

With horror movies, it’s all about the execution of the death scenes and making good on the twist the entire film’s foundation is based on. If neither is successful regardless of how good the setup, eventually it topples over.

All Must Die has the basic ingredients to be a memorable slasher but can’t overcome its lousy twist and weak death scenes.

Rating: 3 out of 10

Photo Credit: Breaking Glass Pictures

Check out All Must Die on Amazon Prime.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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