I expected to hate this movie for a number of reasons, chiefly because I have seen bad movies that centered around underground metal, seemingly to cash in on a built-in audience. Such movies had boring content, except for an occasional breast on the screen. The stories were hollow and poorly written, like the lyrics of some of the bands.
Death metal is not simply one style. If this movie used death metal as a strong ingredient, my hesitation to watch was because the creators might have been outsiders, or they might have been trendfags.
Some bad lyrics are actually what make the songs much funnier, as in the case of BATHTUB SHITTER. The band is Japanese, with a grasp of the English language that is entertaining, especially with songs like “Shit and Re-shit” which were written as a novelty. I love that band.
Some death metal bands have bad lyrics because the members are uneducated. Grammar is embarrassingly flawed. It makes me think that the writers hate reading. Bands with such members play mediocre death metal and appeal to the same kind of stupidity level as people who love Pantera.
Contrast this with bands like IMMOLATION that chose a literary path. Their early anti-christian lyrics were not vulgar and crude. They often criticized christianity with its own teachings rather than ejaculating on the face of jesus.
There are bands who write so well that their lyrics are veritable poems. I know that I have strayed from the review a bit, but if “death metal” is in the title of the movie, I want to supply some background as well as my worry that I was going to waste my time, unless there were breasts in the movie.
In the beginning, I was worried that I was in for cheese and mediocrity. Some of the characters were outside of metal, like people who had those gay plugs in their earlobes, which is pure gayness and totally alien to real metal. Another negative point is the women who had short hair and looked like they belonged in the hardcore or goth scene rather than death metal.
This gripe is personal taste. Unfortunately, hardcore, punk, and other gay trendy scenes have infiltrated metal, and I suppose that the movie represented the scene as it is today. In the past, promoters booked hardcore bands with metal bands because they thought that they could double the audience, even if it meant that there would be violence. These scenes usually did not mix well. Perhaps it’s like borderlands between two populations that hate each other. The border people sometimes mix, and that is better than fighting each other.
Now onto the positive. The movie completely surprised me. After the initial revulsion, I found myself enjoying the experience.
This was shot well. It wasn’t a lazy effort.
If you loved NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, you might detect that same essence in some of the dialogue scenes, which in my opinion is a compliment.
As for the story, it centers around an overzealous priest who gains some extraordinary abilities after coming into contact with pollutants, which would be cheesy if the movie were serious, but this sort of transformation is more of a nod to movies like THE TOXIC AVENGER as well as the lyrical content of some songs. By the time this occurs in the movie, you will have already decided that you accept all of the stylistic decisions that were made in the writing. Prior to that, there really wasn’t anything absurd.
The mentally ill priest has a specific reason for hating death metal, which you will have to see for yourself. After his transformation into the kind of villain you see in slasher movies, his hatred leads to violence. This is the horror aspect of the movie, and I will refrain from mentioning anything else of that aspect because you simply must enjoy discovering this yourself.
On the metal side of things, there is a rich world of characters in a particular metal scene. The relationships and situations were well-developed. There is a style and flavor that was well-crafted.
If you are acquainted with death metal, then you will enjoy some extra insight and you will laugh more than an average viewer, but this movie is not an inside joke. Anyone outside of metal can enjoy this.
I feel ashamed that I had pre-judged this, but that made me love the movie even more after it redeemed itself, and the redemption was fast, as in, less than ten minutes.
DEATH TO METAL is highly recommended for many reasons. It’s creative. The scenes sometimes masterfully mislead you toward the wrong predictions and then delight you with unexpected developments. It’s hard for me to refrain from giving you examples, but trust me, it’s for your benefit. The things I want to describe should be experienced by you when you see the movie for the first time.
This was very well done, and I wish great success to this remarkable film.
I have the Bluray, but the movie is available for streaming if you don’t mind contributing to the death of physical media.