Movie Reviews

Die’ced Movie: A Potential Horror Icon, Or Art The Clown Copycat?

If you have visited horror groups on Social Media in the last few months, you may have met him: A murderous scarecrow named Benny or by his full name, Benjamin. You may have also seen comparisons to a guy named Art the Clown, or to the fact that the relevant film – an independent film called “Diec’ed” created by twins Jeremy and Nathan Rudd – is very reminiscent of the “Terrifier” films, or at least has potential to be the new “Terrifier.” Some posts even claimed a new horror icon might be born here, right before our eyes. It was clear to me that I needed to see “Die’ced” movie to understand what the fuss was about.

Rather unusually, the film has come somewhat from inside the horror community. The creators chose a quite clever and effective campaign (with zero costs, as they testify), in which they establish contact with the audience, ask for feedback, and respond to it matter-of-factly. In my opinion, this is an excellent step for an independent film with a low budget, which will probably not be able to spend hugh amounts in marketing, if at all. This dialogue with the creators increased my desire to see the film. Add to that the fact that I like scarecrow movies (even though they tend to be very silly) and the short length of the film, and you can see why I just had to add it to my schedule.

Looking back, I don’t regret doing it, even if it’s hard to argue that “Die’ced” is flawless.

Die'ced movie campaign
Smart marketing. Part of the “Die’ced” campaign in social media

Meet Benny, The Villain Of Die’ced

The story of Die’ced is straightforward, as you can perhaps learn from its screen time of one hour (gross, because there are about 15 minutes of subtitles before and at the end of the film). So we were left with a movie of something like 45 minutes, most of which are dedicated to Benny’s murders. On the positive side, it is good because you can easily add it to your schedule. Negatively, it is challenging to build a plot without holes or character developements in such a short time.

The plot begins with a dialogue between two nurses in an insane asylum who discover that a serial killer named Benjamin (Benny) was released by mistake. In a somewhat weird move, they decide not to announce his escape, but to hide evidence that he was even in the insane asylum. Benny arrives at a house and chooses his first victim, a poor guy who just dresses up as a scarecrow for a Halloween party. He brutally murders him, steals the costume and also some accessories, such as makeup tools and knives, and goes on a mission.

As we learn quickly, Benny’s mission is to hunt down the members of the Blain family. Cassandra, or Cass (Eden Campbell, “The Mortuary Collection,” “They Reach”), is a beautiful young woman preparing for the Halloween party. She lives with her brother (Collin Fisher) and father (Nigal Vonas) after her mother disappeared mysteriously. Next, she tries to understand what happened to the mother and whether it is related to a guy from her past who could be related to Benny. From here, we mainly get Benny’s murder spree, until the final confrontation with the heroine. The story about Benny could have been tighter and more reliable, which may be resolved in the following films, assuming there will be any.

Here is “Die’ced” trailer:

Die’ced Movie: Low-Budget Production, But With Surprises

In terms of production, “Die’ced,” for the most part, certainly looks impressive, or even a little better than its budget – which I assume is very low – suggests. There are some nice shots, the creators’ choice of camera angles is exciting and sometimes creative, and there is enough gore, which in most cases (even if not in all) is convincing considering the budget. In this respect, the Rudd twins behind the film show talent and love for the genre, and could develop into interesting horror creators.

Obviously, the film has quite a few problems. Campbell does a decent job as Cass, showing she is an actress worth following. Jason Brooks, as Benny, is a successful character in his appearance and some of his moves, but in any case, it is clear that he needs to develop a lot as a separate character, with his own murderous nature. Some other supporting actors in the “Die’ced” cast are less convincing, as you might expect in a film with a minimal budget.

“Die’ced” relies too much on sound, with the soundtrack – mainly synthpop music that takes us to the 80’s – seems excessive to me, with one or two scenes where the soundtrack took over the scene and interfered with the dialogues. I think it would have been correct to reduce the use of sound or find more “excuses” to integrate it as an integral part of the plot, meaning, on-screen sound instead of off-screen.

Wanted: A Scarecrow With More Personality

From the moment “Die’ced” movie came out, we saw some comparisons to Art the Clown from the “Terrifier” movies. The truth is that after seeing the film, I agree with these comparisons, for better or for worse. The killer’s character in the scarecrow costume simply behaves in many cases like the Art of the clown: not only the makeup on the face, but also the facial expressions, the movements, the lack of use of words, and so on. During the movie, I tried to think if Benny looked like Art dressed up as a scarecrow, a scarecrow dressed up as Art, a clown dressed up as a scarecrow who dressed up as a serial killer, a serial killer dressed up as a scarecrow in clown form or maybe a combination of several things.

On the one hand, it adds creepiness to the villain, which is impressive and even looks scary. On the other hand, I didn’t find an explanation in the movie that would show why he behaves like that. If in the case of Art or “The Jester” (another independent horror film about a killer clown that came recently) you can explain the character’s gesture by the fact that they are sort of clowns, in the case of Banny there is no explanation. So, even if the villain seems cool, I would expect to see more of his character in the sequels. I want more Benjamin here, or if you will, a killer disguised as a scarecrow, and less Art the Clown.

At the plot level, “Die’ced” movie includes quite a few scenes that may remind you of the other “Terrifier” films: the film takes place on Halloween, and its main character – who has one brother and one parent – dresses up in a style that reminded me of Sienna, the great Final Girl from “Terrifier 2.” Some scenes here seem to have come out of the universe of the “Terrifier” movies, such as the killer following the heroine and her friend to a cafe. Even tough there is not really a contact between the protagonist and the villains in this scene, unlike the first “Terrifier” movies (note: never make an insulting selfie with a creepy looking clown), this scene ends with one of the better jokes in the movie. This is one of the few moments where the killer seems to bring something new, and it’s definitely refreshing.


Let Art Show You The Way

Is this resemblance to the Terrifier really that bad? I don’t think so! First of all, as the creators themselves testify and as we know, it is tough to reinvent the wheel in horror films. Today, almost every movie, except for a few that stand out for their originality, is based on or mentions another previous work.

For example, I’ve seen criticism in some horror Facebook groups that the opening titles resemble those of “Terrifier” in their font and red font. On the other hand, as the creators mentioned in the same discussion, the style of these red titles appears in many horror films, and has become a kind of convention of the genre. Even we, on this website, once wrote about why red is a scary color. Also, the prominent color in the “Horror World” logo, and the site’s design, as you can guess, is red… as blood.

Besides, if, thanks to the Terrifier movies, independent filmmakers dream of being as successful as Art the Clown and reaching the mainstream, who are we to criticize that desire? As we wrote in the review about the Art Clown films, the franchise went through a very long journey before Art became a familiar figure among horror fans, some would even say a horror icon in the making. In that process there were short films of a rather low quality, a weird anthology film, and the first “Terrifier,” which suffered in my opinion from some of the problems that characterize low-budget films (acting, photography, etc.). “Terrifier 2” was better in almost every aspect. Based on the first review of “Winnie The Pooh: Blood And Honey 2”, which just came out, it’s looks like the sequel is much better than the mediocre first film, including in the physical look of the villains.

The principle is that each film has a higher budget than the previous one, and therefore can improve on a technical level. Each film also gained a bigger audience, allowing this circle to grow. If “Die’ced” continues to get a buzz, on the social media and outside, it might follow a similar path.

Should You See The Die’ced Movie?

Only in a few years, at least, will we know whether Die’ced, Benny, and Cass will receive the recognition that its creators wish for. Until then, the Rudd brothers should be appreciated, since they created a fun movie with a pretty successful villain, and somehow brought it to the radar of many horror fans. More important, there is a potential to develop here, both as a film and as horror creators, and I will be glad to see their next efforts.

You can watch “Die’ced” on Tubi or Amazon Prime Video.

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