Sometimes it’s nice to get more than one opinion on a movie and usually to do that you’ve got to shop around but not today, folks! Today, the incredibly talented Luce Allan and I are sharing our thoughts about Gehenna: Where Death Lives. Enjoy!
Gehenna: Where Death Lives-A Review
by Luce Allan
In Gehenna: Where Death Lives(2016), five people search for a suitable location in the island of Saipan on which to build a new resort property. The breathtaking spot that they find, however, includes a secluded cave surrounded by an atmosphere of dread and mystery, and they decide to investigate. Soon after discovering that the cave is a cursed, corpse-laden World War II bunker, they find themselves trapped, and are forced to rely on sinister tactics for survival.
Although Gehenna: Where Death Lives initially falters with a slow beginning, the majority of the film is well-paced. The plot is heavily reminiscent of the film As Above, So Below with its emphasis on a historical setting and accompanying lore, the theme of guilt made manifest in horrific visions, and intensifying claustrophobia. This film succeeds in bringing several of these aforementioned elements to life, particularly with its notable special effects (created by Spectral Motion) and its dimly-lighted setting, in which light slowly and sporadically bleeds in and out in order to create a tense and unpredictable atmosphere.
While the film’s visuals are impressive, the plot itself offers little in terms of originality, with the exception of the twist at the film’s end, which is executed with skill and attention to detail, and lends potential to a relatively conventional storyline.
Overall, Gehenna: Where Death Livesis a fun, well-produced horror film, in spite of its reliance on standard genre plot devices.
Gehenna: Where Death Lives
Gehenna: Where Death Lives tells the story a group of people scouting locations for a new multimillion dollar resort in Saipan. They think they’ve found the perfect spot but then they learn of a WWII era bunker in the area where they want to build. Worried that the bunker could pose structural issues later on and knowing that the bossman won’t sign off on buying the land without being sure first, they decide to explore the bunker. As you probably guessed, that’s right about where they fucked up. They find themselves transported back in time by a curse with absolutely no chill whatsofuckinever and learn that some fates are much worse than death.
I wracked my brain trying to find out where to start with this review so I decided to start with the only complaints I have with the whole thing. First off, the group consists of a super businessy business woman who is all business, an asshole Aussie guide, his Saipanese employee, a camera guy, and the guy who pines for the business lady, and that’s it. Notice a strange lack of anyone who would be able to tell if the bunker would be an issue? Yeah, me too. But hey, if it weren’t for groups of people making shitty decisions we wouldn’t have horror movies. Also, I get that it’s shot in a bunker and whatnot, but goddamn this movie is dark sometimes. Those are literally the only issues I had with Gehenna.
Everything else about this movie was pretty damned great. The way I labeled the characters above might be true but that doesn’t mean that they’re bad. There is plenty of character development to make you care what happens to them, which makes the few emotional moments this movie throws at you hit in a really satisfying way. You learn about the curse, its effects, and the story behind it as the characters learn which I always enjoy; I have no desire to be beaten over the head with exposition for twenty minutes or to be left wondering what the hell is going on. It helps that the story itself is really interesting. This is truly one of those films that you’ll want to watch a few times just to catch all the little hidden hints that it gives you to the big reveal in the end. There is no lack of style in this movie either, the visual effects and the aerial footage of the absolute paradise that is the location of this film more than make up for the couple of scenes that were super dark. All in all, the good far outweighs the bad; this one is hard to beat.
Gehenna: Where Death Lives is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, and I’ve seen a bunch of damned movies. It was released in theaters across the US on the fourth of this month and is also currently available digitally. Trust me when I tell you that you do not want to miss this one! You can thank me later.
There you have it folks! Thanks for stopping by. Do you like these double reviews? Should we do them more often? Leave us a comment or hit us up on your favorite social media and let us know.
If you want you can check out the trailer here.