Now On DVD: LITTLE DEATHS Revels In Sex And, Well, Death
The theme connecting the three films is pretty loose: sex and death. Hogan's "House and Home" has a seemingly good samaritan couple take in a homeless girl, only to reveal their true sinister intentions, which may not turn out as they planned; Parkinson's "Mutant Tool" is about a former drug addict trying to straighten her life out, who is haunted by drug-induced nightmares of a caged man with a rather large, em, 'tool'; and Rumley's "Bitch" is about an abusive relationship which leaves a boyfriend at wit's end over his girlfriend's nasty manipulation and sexual domination. Peter Martin reviewed the film when it screened at SXSW in 2011 and had this (among other positive things) to say:
The individual episodes could stand on their own as very good short films. Each filmmaker takes a different approach to their material, allowing the viewer to compare and contrast their treatment of horror subjects ... Little Deaths made me grimace at the bodily fluids (I'm sensitive that way), laugh at its audacity, and, in general, simply enjoy three different, yet complementary, visions.
I would pretty much agree with this assessment. Each film is good on its own, and each is not only well written and directed, but incredibly disturbing. Women, both good and bad, definitely take the lead in all three films, but none of them are sexist. And none show violence for its own sake: I like how each takes a very considered approach to the horror, giving it a very specific context, while still making it horrifying.
There are a few extras on the DVD, such as the standard theatrical trailer, and audio commentary on each of the films. There's also a behind-the-scenes featurette, which I found quite interesting. Each of the directors was quite open about the difficulty of the material, issues with finding the right cast who could handle such disturbing material, and how to balance a film away from just violence and gore for its own sake towards a more thoughtful contemplation of the varying themes, both for them and the spectator. It's certainly a worthy addition to the collections of horror film fans who like substance with style.