South African youth horror film from a little-known director Alastair Orr, showing the cost of life and the time of death.
The original title of the film “Triggered” (trigger or hook) also perfectly conveys the idea of the film, as well as the word “Deathmatch” – a fight to the death in computer survival games.
The film opens with a scene of torture for a bound man wearing a timer vest. And this beginning already gives the prerequisites for what will happen next with the main characters.
Nine guys are sitting by the fire, roasting marshmallows on sticks, drinking beer and still do not know what awaits them soon.
After all, the main antagonist – their school physics teacher Mr. Peterson, played by Sean Michael (Richard Guthrie from the TV series “Black Sails”) lost his son Keleb and now takes revenge on his friends and everyone who is somehow involved in his death. Appearing only to explain the rules of the game, he ends his story arc, leaving the guys to survive.
Throughout the action, the heroes run through the forest in bombed vests, gather in groups, look for weapons and a way to escape, betray each other and try to trust. After all, their lives are at stake, there is no time for intimate conversations.
Someone begins to arrange a showdown, someone goes crazy against the backdrop of terrible events. Others show miracles of courage and courage. Former friends become enemies, dropping their masks, revealing their faces and killing each other along the way.
The meaning of the film
“Deathmatch” is like a symbiosis of “Saw”, “Hunger Games” and “Time”. The main goal is to survive on your own, get rid of others and gain more time.
It would seem that the only way to cope with the challenge is to become a ruthless, merciless killer. But, even if you retire further into the forest or hide and not take part in the bloody meat grinder, you will not be able to become the only survivor without participating and interacting with rivals.
All heroes go different ways to the goal. For example, Ryan (played by actress Reine Swart, familiar to viewers from the series “Z Nation” and the tape “Empty Man”) is looking for a remote control that can turn off and disable all vests. And Kato, played by Russell Krause, a South African actor who starred in “Guardian” and the TV series “Outlander”, decided to kill not only his friends, but also his girlfriend.
The film shows the difficult path of becoming a winner.
Characteristics of heroes
All the characters have very bright characters, easily recognizable among the rest. For example:
- clever Ryan;
- the loser Bobby, played by Michael Lawrence Potter, whose film role was his debut;
- quiet Erin;
- fool PJ, who accidentally killed one of his girlfriends;
- egoist Ezra (played by Stephen John Ward, known for the film “From the House on Willow Street”).
Bound by a common past in which someone committed a murder, the guys suspect each other and stop at nothing.
Toward the end, the mystery of Keleb’s accidental death is revealed. The reason for this was higher academic scores, which Ryan could not survive. Now she herself was faced with the real need to “earn” points – minutes on the timer so as not to die.
Heroes often mention works that contain references or are suitable for the theme of survival:
- franchise “Saw” – saving yourself at the cost of the lives of other people;
- the book by William Golding “Lord of the Flies” – about the survival of children on the island and the development of cruelty in them;
- “American Psycho” is about awakening a brutal killer in a person who enjoys his atrocities.
Even the well-known cliches are mentioned: “In horror films, everyone scatters and dies” and “Any of the heroes can become a villain.” Having said this, friends follow these habitual rules without deviating a single step from them.
According to the rules of the game, one person must stay alive and win. The winner was easily calculated from the very beginning. Quiet Erin, played by actress Liesl Ahlers, who starred in the thriller Friend Request, did not commit a single murder or bad deed. Standing out from the rest of her friends with her gentleness and indecision, she was an even greater victim than the rest – after all, the deceased Keleb was her boyfriend.
In the final scene, where Erin finally gets on the road and again faces the alienation and misunderstanding of the driver who refused to help her, she finds the strength to become bolder. The events she experienced hardened her character. And left last, in the light of bright sunlight, she boldly faces the future and is no longer afraid of anything.