‘Time waits for no one’
Death Count is a 2022 American horror film about strangers who awaken in individual holding cells with no memory of how they got there. They soon realise that they are part of a sick internet game if they don’t acquire enough online “likes” in a timely manner, they’ll die horribly at the hands of a sinister executioner.
Directed and photographed by Michael Su (Night of the Tommyknockers; Bloodthirst; Bridge of the Doomed; My Demon Within; The Revolting Dead) from a screenplay co-written by Rolfe Kanefsky (director of Art of the Dead; Bus Party to Hell; The Black Room; There’s Nothing Out There; et al) and Michael Merino. Produced by Jamal Alsaqer, Michael Mahal, Sonny Mahal and BJ Mezek.
The Mahal Empire-Blaen-Y-Maes Bootleg Films-Mezek Films co-production stars Costas Mandylor, Sarah French, Devanny Pinn, BJ Mezek, Wesley Cannon, Denny Nolan, Charles Solomon Jr, Dee Cutrone, Robert LaSardo and Michael Madsen.
“The film does kind of fly off the rails in the third act and becomes a little bit ridiculous but it’s certainly never dull. There are some really eye-opening moments that will have even the most diehard gore fan twitch. The cast put in a stellar performance and whilst not original (I’ve said that already) it’s certainly worth your time.” 3 out of 5, Back to the Movies
“Death Count is a worthwhile entry in its subgenre, giving the torture elements something to fall back on and proving that good visuals paired with strong acting can make a film fly. This is one of those films that looks a bit generic on poster but is quite a good effort from cinematographer-turned-director Michael Su.” Cinema Crazed
“The special effects are gnarly, and sometimes so brutal, the characters probably wish they were dead. Blood, guts, cuts, tears, acid… it’s all here on full unapologetic, uncensored display […] This film isn’t all style and no substance. The plot and script offer a surprising amount of depth and commentary on the education system, and takes institutional practices like budgeting and twists them into a dark almost vigilante revenge story.” Dark Universe
“Credit to the cast, who really sell the fear, frustration, anger, terror and pain with such gusto. Sarah French, in particular, is great but Costas Mandylor as The Warden is well worth mentioning too […] Death Count isn’t what you would call original but that’s fine because it is entertaining in a sickening kind of a way.” Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life
“The acting is very good, except for Madsen, who isn’t even bothering to phone this in. Sarah French, on the other hand, is worth the price of admission alone. Ironically the Death Count here racks up so fast that, by the time a belated attempt at backstory and character development is thrown in, half the cast are dead, and the viewer doesn’t really care if the rest make it or not.” Horror Screams Video Vault
“Death Count does so many things right that any questionable decisions or logic/plot holes are frankly irrelevant. This is true drive-in fare for 2022 that carries that trademark Mahal cheese (which is aging quite nicely, by the way). Costas Mandylor creates a horror villain that has sequel written all over him…even if he does look like a low-level wizard with a flare for fancy masks.” Get On My Damn Level
“Death Count delivers in the gore department […] Most everything was done with practical effects, giving the film a throwback vibe to the splatter films of the ’80s and ’90s. The film isn’t perfect. There are a few story beats that don’t always work, but the movie is tightly edited, and at eighty-one minutes, it moves at a lightning pace, delivering everything it should to a blood-hungry crowd.” Horror Geek Life
“It has an ending that I did not expect, and a lot of twists and turns along the way. Michael Su and Michael Merino should be incredibly proud of this picture because it sets out to be the Death Race of captivity films and wholeheartedly succeeds. It also gives reigning scream queens Sarah French and Devanny Pinn another opportunity to shine at what they do best.” 8/10 Horror Society
“It’s a stupid movie that’ll probably make you dumber, just by watching it. The voyeurism of the victims’ predicament extends to anybody who checks in on films like this just to watch the “cool” ways people are killed, although some fanboy out on how the makeup is applied to create gruesome injuries — and wait for the naked cleavage.” 0 stars out of 4, Movie Nation
“With its message about our social media-obsessed culture fully in place, Death Count both terrifies and titillates its audience as each task the strangers are prompted to do earns more likes and guarantees their survival . . . for now. Begin your task or be eliminated. Death Count is the world we live in.” 4/5 Reel Reviews
“Death Count doesn’t really reinvent the wheel so much as keep it turning. This film unashamedly leans into the tried and tested tropes of the genre and never looks like deviating from there. Death Count is incredibly gory but the mystery surrounding who the Warden is and why these people are being forced to play is enough of a hook to keep you watching.” 5.5/10 The Review Geek
“There are a few turns along the way, but by the time the subplot meets the main plot it has gotten all a little bit over the top. Death Count had some pacing issues to it, it felt it would have benefitted with some more scenes set outside the cells. Despite that, this wasn’t a bad film, what it lacked in realistic-looking effects it made up for in variation and certainly was deliciously bloody and gooey throughout.” 7/10 The Rotting Zombie
” …it puts some weight into its backstory as well as doing some decent character work, and besides it also works as a twisted social commentary. Plus, a very solid cast and a direction that finds the right balance between explicit violence and utter tension help make this one rather strong piece of genre cinema.” Search My Trash
“It’s violent and incessant! Without any kind of lubricant, we jump right into the action amid self-mutilation acts and heads exploding. It’s a fun ride if you can take buckets of barbaric practical effects […] It looks like it was written by a teenager who couldn’t care less about subtlety.” 3/4 Tales of Terror
“The film does have its share of problems. The Warden’s outfit makes him look like the villain from a cheap sword and sorcery film which detracts from the character’s menace. And several of the characters make some incredibly bad decisions. But when it’s all said and done Death Count is an entertainingly nasty dose of blood and body parts, and that’s what films like this are all about.” 4/5 Voices from the Balcony
” …Death Count is a scrappy, in-your-face midnight movie. It isn’t as groundbreaking as the features from which it derives inspiration. Regardless, it will assuredly please those of us who are always frantically searching for a stellar dose of grueling cinematic terror […] Su’s exercise is twisted fun. It’s also one of the best genre undertakings of the year.” 4/5 A Word of Dreams
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