Spoiler-Free Film Reviews: ALL YOU NEED IS DEATH and BOOGER (Brooklyn Horror Film Festival)

October 17, 2023

Written by Joseph Perry

Joseph Perry is the Film Festival Editor for Horror Fuel; all film festival related queries and announcements should be sent to him at josephperry@gmail.com. He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.

All You Need Is Death (Ireland, 2023)


Writer/director Paul Duane’s Irish folk horror All You Need Is Death is a terrific slow burner that fairly drips with dread as it takes viewers on a ride to wholly unexpected places. Young couple Anna (Simone Collins) and Aleks (Charlie Maher) are musicians who surreptitiously collect rare, unrecorded folk songs to sell for a profit. No-nonsense Agnes (Catherine Siggins) is one of the people to whom they attempt to sell, and she is particularly interested in a song seemingly known only to reclusive, eccentric, elderly Rita Concannon (Olwen Fouéré). Rita agrees to sing the song to Anna and Agnes under certain strict conditions, and when one of those conditions is broken, the story begins to head into mind-boggling territory best left unspoiled. Suffice it to say that folk horror is not the only fear-fare subgenre on display. Duane helms and paces the macabre proceedings wonderfully, and the main cast members, which also include Nigel O’Neill as Agnes’s son Breezeblock, all turn in fantastic performances. Aficionados of weird fiction in cinema should find plenty to marvel at with All You Need Is Death, which is a strong contender for my list of top 10 horror films for this year. 



Booger (U.S., 2023)


An unusual take on body horror is one of the driving elements of writer/director Mary Dauterman’s Booger, a highly stylized look at grief that also blends psychological chiller with strong drama. Anna (Grace Glowicki) is grieving over the sudden, unexpected death of her friend Izzy (Sofia Dobrushin), when matters are made worse as Booger, the stray cat they adopted together, makes a break for it out of Anna’s apartment window one day after biting her on the hand. Ignoring calls from her work, avoiding planning a celebration of life for Izzy with Izzy’s mother Joyce (Marcia DeBonis), and keeping her boyfriend Max (Garrick Bernard) at arm’s length, Anna sinks further into despair. Things get weirder for her when the bite wound worsens and she begins to cough up fur balls, display feline tendencies, and more, which I will leave future viewers to discover for themselves. Glowicki gives an intriguing, all-in performance, leading a solid cast, and Dauterman invests her film with tightly edited, dreamlike sequences along with scenes given plenty of time to heighten the proceedings. Fans of unusual independent horror focused more on character study than gore and from unique newer voices should find plenty to enjoy with Booger.    



All You Need Is Death and Booger screen as part of  Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, which takes place from October 12–19, 2023. For more information, visit  https://brooklynhorror2023.eventive.org/welcome.


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