Director – Brandon Guiles (Buy Sell Trade, Lower Spirits)
Starring – Jaeleen Davis (Chicago P.D.), David Waldman (Detention of the Dead, A Slice of Fright), and Brandon Guiles)
Release Date – 2021
Rating – 3/5
A couple years ago I stumbled upon filmmaker Brandon Guiles on Facebook while he was promoting his web-series Lower Spirits. I loved how well shot the series was and the humor was right up my alley. I befriended him and I’ve been following career closely in hopes he returns to the genre. A few weeks ago he hit me up to check out the trailer for his new anthology film All My Friends are Dead. I was very intrigued by the trailer and expressed that to him at the time. When the film was finally finished and ready for viewing he reached out to me to review it. I couldn’t wait to finally dig into this indie goodness.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a group of friends who plan a camping trip around the death of the father of one of their own. To help her spread his ashes they agree to go with her in the woods for a camping trip. That night they start partying and telling scary stories beside the campfire. However, as their night moves on they find their numbers dwindling as something stalks them through the woods picking them off one by one. **Spoiler Alert**
This is the kind of movie I look forward to as October rolls around. Indie productions have so much heart and the way these filmmakers pull off feature length films with no budget is truly astounding. All My Friends are Dead isn’t perfect but it’s fun. It has a few laughs, some blood, and nothing beats a horror anthology during the Halloween season.
The acting in this one is fairly decent. The cast consist of actors that was inexperienced but they still attacked their roles and delivered the best performances they could. The characters don’t really stand out and get lost in the shuffle of the film but none of them are necessarily bad. They are just underwritten and lacked charisma.
The stories for this one are a lot of fun but some are a little too cliched. I liked the wrap around segment with the friends getting together to support their friend. It’s a fun way to get everyone together and deliver that “stories around the campfire” motif. I love horror films centered around stories told around the campfire and the fact that Guiles crafted an anthology out of it really excited me. The wrap around works perfectly and holds everything together nicely. As for the stories we get…they are very inconsistent. Some of the stories really do work for the film but some just feel a bit rushed and missing the bang that we are always looking for when we toss in a new horror flick. With that being said, it’s impossible to find an anthology that is perfectly even all the way through. Even Creepshow 2 has a weak link.
Finally, the film doesn’t shy away from the blood. In fact, Guiles goes to great lengths to deliver the red syrupy goodness. The practical and make-up effects are limited but they work for the gags they were going for and we get plenty of blood for the scene. Overall, All My Friends are Dead is a wildly fun indie anthology that once again shows why indie horror films are so much fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this bloody mess of a film and highly recommend you check it out this Halloween season!