Documentary lovers, beware of A Necessary Death currently listed in the Rogers OnDemand documentary section. Why? It is life’s most horrific moments captured on film, and real enough to make you believe that it’s actually happening.
Wait, what’s that? Oh, someone forgot to mention that it is not an actual documentary. It’s a faux documentary.
Excuse my French, but holy fucking shit. I just sat through that movie, believing every moment of it until it was over. And then I freaked out and looked it up online to understand just how that film was made without the entire world not only opposing it but being outrageously horrified by the ending. Only then do I find out it’s not real.
Most websites discussing the movie laugh at those of us who believed it was real, but when my cable company lists a film in the documentary section, I expect it to be real or at least show real footage to back up the theory they are trying to prove. This video was listed alongside Bowling for Columbine and portrait’s of Marilyn Monroe’s life. I wish I had chosen one of those to watch.
Knowing nothing about A Necessary Death ahead of time, I watched the movie trailer before selecting the film. It portrayed student filmmakers documenting the process of finding a suicidal person willing to share the end of his or her days. When the trailer was over I decided that I now had to watch it because I would be thinking about it and obsessing over it for days wondering what happened next. I was also curious about whether they portray a suicidal person accurately, without stigma or judgement of any sort.
I live with suicidal thoughts and feelings daily. I’ve attempted suicide, I’ve lost a friend to suicide. In short, I didn’t think I could be surprised. I was wrong.
As the film progressed I decided that it wasn’t an accurate portrayal of the average suicidal person because the “documentary” focused on a suicidal that was already dying of incurable cancer. The characters in the film openly discussed the morals and ethics surrounding their project, however, and so I remained watching, trying to learn about the artistic process. After all, with every post on this blog I question whether I am ready to share this information about myself with the world, and whether the world will benefit from it or be repelled. Where do we draw the line when it comes to life’s most complicated and painful moments? It’s a universal question.
You will not find an exploration of that in this film. You might for part of it but soon you will be drawn into the dynamics of the characters and the gut-wrenching pain and horror they experience. This movie is up there with The Blair Witch Project when it comes to scaring the shit out of you with real agony. It’s not gore agony, it’s suicidal death agony.
So if you’re reading this post and wonder about ethics of artists and storytelling, do not watch this film. If you have any type of mental illness or know someone who has one (which is pretty much everyone), do not watch this film. Only watch this film if you have an appetite for horror and know full well that A Necessary Death is NOT a real documentary. And even then, be ready to turn it off when it gets too intense. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I am someone who loves a complicated storyline. Life is rarely straightforward and there aren’t always easy answers to life’s questions. I’m a fan of some darker movies for that reason. And for the most part, I found A Necessary Death to be thought-provokingly unsettling. Until it all goes to Hell in a handbasket with you caught in it, bound and gagged.
Now please excuse my while I attempt to go to bed for the night. Shit.
Edit: I’ve received one response to this post in which the reader is now planning on watching the movie. If that is your intention after reading my post, I kind of feel like taking this post down. :(