Friday, October 30, 2015

Death Game (1977)

Allegedly based upon real events, this low-rent thriller is part of a cinematic continuum, spanning Play Misty for Me (1971) to Fatal Attraction (1987) and beyond, about the consequences of extramarital affairs with psychotic women. In Death Game, Bay Area businessman George (Seymour Cassel) is home alone one night while his wife and children are away, and answers the doorbell to find two attractive hippie chicks, Agatha (Sondra Locke) and Donna (Colleen Camp), looking helpless and lost. They claim they mistook George’s house for one with a similar address where a party is happening, so he lets the girls inside to use his phone. After some small talk that’s laden with sexual tension, the ladies strip naked and invite George into a threesome. He pays dearly for his dalliance, because the next morning, the girls commence destroying his property and threatening to charge with him rape. Agatha and Donna eventually bludgeon George and bind him. Later still, the odyssey descends into madness and murder. Death Game (sometimes known as The Seducers) could have been a salacious little thriller, but postproduction tinkering diminished whatever virtues director Peter S. Trayor’s raw footage possessed. The film is padded with irritating musical passages, including a headache-inducing opening-credits sequence set to a cloying song about daddy issues, and the nadir of the picture is a long interlude during which music plays over a shot of an overturned ketchup bottle. Seriously. Furthermore, all of Cassel’s dialogue was dubbed by another actor, which exacerbates the flick’s disjointed quality. Worse, the many long scenes of Agatha and Donna rampaging through George’s house are repetitive and shrill. The girls cry, dance, freak out, scream, and smash things, giving the impression that Camp and Locke were encouraged to improvise without much guidance. There’s a certain innate suspense to the premise, and the threesome scene is hot in a sleazy sort of way. Nonetheless, Death Game is choppy, meandering, and unpleasant, wrapping up with a pointless final scene that seems like a parody of ’70s-cinema bummer endings.

Death Game: LAME


JungGRT said...

Eli Roth just remade/ripped this off as "Knock Knock", with Keanu Reeves, chocolate birthday cake, and a couple of forgettable starlets:

Unknown said...

Indeed. Having read the description, I was about to ask if this was the Keanu Reeves thing. Eli Roth, eh? How is he still working?

You say remade/ripped off - is there any acknowledgement of the original?

Jett said...

Poor George missed the opening(or an early episode of) Saturday Night Live.