"The Deaths of Ian Stone"
So I confess to some
doubt before I put in "The Deaths of Ian Stone". I saw
the trailers, and the synopsis, and it struck me as an experiment.
While any experiment has incredible potential to be a rare and
unique gem, it also has incredible potential to be a train wreck
of devastating proportions.
When you see the plot,
you'll see why. Check this out: some guy named Ian Stone (hence
the title) runs into some strange something-or-other that forces
him into the path of an oncoming train. Okay, big punch right
away, right? But check out the rest--instead of dying, as most
people tend to do when getting hit with a train, Ian Stone finds
himself in a new life that seems oddly familiar. Until the strange
something-or-other comes back, and Ian Stone finds himself back
on the other end of the dying stick. It soon becomes clear that
Ian will keep right on dying...until he can find out why.
And I found myself
growing steadily more convinced that this was a really, really
good move. Indeed, "The Deaths of Ian Stone" is an absolutely
unique experience that I, despite decades of horror movies, cannot
name a parallel for. Okay, granted, the whole "love triumphs
over fear" motif they'll be using throughout is so stale
it could knock an intruder unconscious but still. This is definitely
unlike anything I can name.
It's got plenty of
chases, action, killings, fistfights and all those things that
put a real spark on horror filmmaking. I can't tell you a whole
lot more without spoilering like no tomorrow, but suffice it to
say that I found everything to be done precisely well.
Oh, sure, I wish they'd
gone back to the days when each title had its own DVD menu, and
I wish they'd been able to infuse some of that sweet originality
that the film itself had into that menu, but this is a problem
so slight it barely matters. Tack that menu item onto my wish
list, because it will not, read, NOT, affect your enjoyment of
this film one IOTA.
The ending manages
to not only tie up all the loose ends but also leave the potential
of a sequel available in a fashion that doesn't insult the viewer's
The special features
are the only real low point for this title, having only Miss Horrorfest
contest webisodes and English and Spanish subtitles. Sad for a
movie this good, but still.
All in all, wow. Granted,
"The Deaths of Ian Stone" may not be the same frenetic
fright-fest as the series' absolute high-water mark, 2007's "Gravedancers",
but there's no doubt at all that this one is a fantastic joy to
watch, completely without parallel in the market, and an absolute,
unquestionably must-see title.
Deaths of Ian Stone
by Dario Piana
by Brendan Hood
Mike Vogel, Jaime Murray, Christina Cole, Michael Feast
by Stan Winston, Brian Gilbert, Ralph Camp
out the Video Store Guy on his own ever-lovin' website.
Featuring never before seen pieces exclusive to Reel Advice! (reel.panel2panel.com)