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A GRIM BECOMING (2014): Review…For A Certain Audience Only

A Grim Becoming – 2014

I should preface this review with the note that I am not the target audience for horror comedies. I like dark, heavy horror films, and serious films, in general. Nevertheless, I sat down to watch A Grim Becoming hoping for at least a good laugh, if not a good scare.

Sadly, this film provided neither.

Directed by Adam R. Steigert, also a co-writer, A Grim Becoming stars executive Raphael, played by Brandyn T. Williams, in the throes of trying to make a business deal for his architecture firm when he gets the horrible news that Lance, his young nephew, has died.

With personal assistant Jamie, played by horror star Devanny Pinn, in tow, Raphael returns to his hometown of Metzburgh for the funeral where another horrible event occurs – he sees a grim reaper taking a soul.  And in this film, whenever a human witnesses that particular act, he or she automatically becomes a grim reaper too, able to kill with a single touch when in grim reaper form.  Not surprisingly, Raphael doesn’t really want the curse of having to kill people, even if it grants him immortality.

But when he tries telling this to Magoo, played by Michael Sciabarrasi, the man in charge of all grim reapers, Magoo is not sympathetic, explaining that Raphael will be “terminated” if he can’t carry out his deathly duties.  And so we watch Raphael fumble through the movie, refusing to take anyone’s soul and instead getting into skirmishes with other grim reapers and visiting relatives.  Naturally, death pops up every so often, followed by confrontations with the overbearing Magoo.

Jessica Cameron as “Life”

When Magoo accidentally turns his cousin, October, into a flesh-eating dead zombie, the three of them are off to find Life, played by horror actress Jessica Cameron.  She is only on screen long enough though to reverse October’s death and tell Raphael who he must see if he has any hopes of being a normal human again.  From there, without giving the whole movie away, Raphael manages to figure out what he must do, and the film ends much as it started, with Raphael back in the boardroom as his human self, him and his firm sealing the business deal.

What the above paragraphs do not describe are the film’s jaunty music, cheesy dialogue, and weird humor, not to mention its lack of anything remotely scary or even funny.  I’ll say that the grim reaper storyline is original enough and the acting good (although the characters in the film border on the ridiculous).  Sciabarrasi, in particular, brings a lot of personality to the role of Magoo.  But that’s really where my praise ends.  This film was just bad.

It would have helped if the film could have stuck more closely to the main plot, but there seemed to be no scene that could just move it forward without completely unrelated and seemingly pointless events thrown in.  The peanut butter sex scene between Lance’s grieving parents, played by Bill Oberst Jr. and Melantha Blackthorne?  I could have done without that.

Guess who I ran into in the hallway?

Raphael, causing a lot of laughs as he walks through town completely naked after changing back to his human form, yet somehow oblivious to the fact that he has no clothes on?  I could have done without that too.

I could have done without a lot of this film, bringing us to the issue of length.  With A Grim Becoming clocking in at 115 minutes, I felt like I was watching the bad movie that would just never end.  Cutting some extra footage from this film could only improve it.

So, those are my thoughts. If you are looking for a wacky comedy with some grim undertones, have at this film. Viewers with an appreciation for exaggerated, over the top humor may really love it.  As for myself, I just wish I could have my 115 minutes back.



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Meghan Hogan

I'm just a freelance writer who, amongst other things, loves a good scary movie.