Road Rash Reviews

All You Need Is Death Cinema Review***--

Cert 15 | 97 mins | 2024

3 star brooding musical folk tale.

All You Need Is Death is a 2024 Irish folk horror film, written and directed by Paul Duane who makes an impressive feature debut with this disturbing tale..

It is showing in UK cinemas from 19th April 2024, courtesy of Blue Finch Film Releasing.

“Perhaps you’re here because you’re impatient with the conventional paths to success. You want a fast track, to validation, publication and approval. I can’t offer you that.”

As the film opens we see a familiar scene, a music session in a pub in Ireland. Anna (Simone Collins – The Last Duel, Barber) is in the pub listening to the music when one of the locals notices she is recording it. Aleks (Charlie Maher – Black Narcissus, Ten Dates) comes over to ask her to stop and she leaves.

He waits for her outside, but it turns out to be a ruse. They are in fact together, amateurs searching the Irish folk scene in search of obscure or even never before heard songs to sell for a quick profit. They are to report back to the mysterious Agnes (Catherine Siggins – The Scam, The Samuel Project) who is helping a number of people in their searches.

They find a variation of an old song, but more excitingly they get a tip to go and find someone by the name of Concannon. A local man, Ron (Barry McKiernan – King Frankie) directs them to Rita Concannon (Olwen Fouéré – The Northman, The Survivalist), an eccentric old lady who is said to know a unique song.

When they arrive, Agnes is already there and Rita is in the wardrobe. Bemoaning the fact that she never had a daughter , only a son (Nigel O’Neill – Boys From County Hell, Bad Day for the Cut) when the song must be passed down the female line, she agrees to sing the song to Anna, provided she doesn’t record it or write it down. Anna agrees, but unknown to her, Agnes records it. They will soon all find out that when you are asked not to do something it is usually for a reason.

“Rita prefers to conduct her meetings from inside the wardrobe. She’s the mysterious type.”

Dipping heavily into the rich well that is Irish folk lore, this enjoyable film explores some pretty disturbing themes, concerning love, betrayal and of course, the ever present threat of the supernatural lurking in the background.

It’s well written, although there are a few pacing issues and it features a fantastic score which adds to the sense of unease created by the claustrophobic feel of small town rural Ireland.

It’s very surreal in places and the actual song itself is not at all what I expected, I would gladly have paid her to stop singing it. A great collection of ideas which, while a little disjointed in places, all come together for a surprising and strange ending. Well worth a watch.

“The future is picked clean. Treasure lies in the past. We find beauty where others have overlooked it, among the speechless and the miserable of the Earth and we turn it into a future for ourselves.” 

All You Need Is Death is in cinemas 19th April 2024.

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DirectorPaul Duane
StarringSimone Collins, Charlie Maher, Olwen Fouéré, Catherine Siggins, Nigel O'Neill
Category: Cinema, film, Review