Bruce Taylor is a psychiatrist who works in a mental institution. For the past few months, he has listened to one of his patients, Richard, tell him about the voices that he hears emanating from beneath the institution’s ground. Bruce thinks it is just Richard’s psychoses until recently, when he begins having disturbing dreams in which Richard appears to warn him of a coming horror. He then finds a hidden door, in the institution’s records room, that leads to a staircase and tunnels underneath the grounds. After a brief search, he finds a human skull. He then convinces his father, a forensic scientist, to reconstruct the skull and see who it is. Everyone is perplexed that the face on the skull is that of Bruce!
It turns out that the skull belongs to the twin brother of a crazed man, Gregor VanHess, who killed him by burying him alive, and Bruce is the reincarnation of him. After following a paperwork trail, he finds that the killer is still alive at 130 years old and on his last legs of his life in a nursing home. There Bruce learns the horrific truth of Gregor’s evil past and future intentions, as a virus starts to spread throughout the mental institution.
“Death Knows Your Name” is a mediocre horror / sci-fi low-budget film with a confusing plot. The story can be understood, but it seems unnecessarily more complicated that it should be. It is not exactly complex; it is just that it could have given us the same results without being so ambiguous.
This is not a bad movie for being low budget. The acting is fairly well done on most of the cast’s parts. Not having done any research on the cast, they seemed British and a few cast members sounded Dutch, but it turns out that the movie was shot in Argentina! I have never seen a horror movie from there before. It is done in English, but you will notice some of the cast’s accents more than others. None are unintelligible but you might be slightly distracted by them . I cracked up when a tech sees Bruce’s face on the skull and said, “One of you has some ‘xplainin’ to do.” I had flashbacks of Ricky Ricardo on “I Love Lucy.”
All of the cast are relative newcomers to acting. Most have had five or less total roles.
Rodrigo Aragón stars as Bruce Taylor. His accent goes from Spanish to British; not too bad. He looks like a porn star but acts a step above them. A rounder-faced Lorenzo Lamas.
Kevin Schiele, who plays Richard, the mental patient, stands out as the best actor. He has that “crazed” look down perfect and he has to pull double duty as he goes from an unaware mental patient to the maniacal representative and voice of the virus. He is the only actor in the movie not to have a Spanish accent; he sounds British.
The special effects are cheesy but adequate. There are not many effects until the halfway point of the movie. There is a bit of blood and gore at times but it should not be too much for most viewers.
The cinematography is your standard camera shots. There is a slight gray/blue tint to most scenes, like the overcast on a cloudy day, which can also be seen in most British films.
The soundtrack is somewhat cheesy but I like it. There is a lot of wind in the background that, along with the hollow and echoing dialogue, creates an open, lonely feeling that helps set the cold tone for the movie. Much of the music is orchestral and reminds me of “The Shining.” Some music sounds like a Full Moon movie, such as “Puppetmaster.”
The atmosphere is only slightly horrific. During the first third, no specific atmosphere is required and so there is not much of any. The rest of the movie has more atmosphere but could have used even more. Most scenes are in modern city and buildings settings. Even the old tunnels under the ground seem too clean and sleek. There is a slight sense of impending doom and dread. I think the creepiest part is when we see the mental patients staring at the ground, hearing voices below.
Even with all of the weaknesses of this film, I still felt entertained.
“Death Knows Your Name” is a mediocre horror / sci-fi low-budget film with a slightly confusing plot. The story can be understood, but I can see how it might confuse some viewers. If you watch this, make sure you watch it without distractions or, like me, you will have to watch it twice!
Gonzalo Alfonsin … Cunningham
Rodrigo Aragón … Bruce Taylor
Patricia Gomez … Paula
Javier Gorleri … Walter
Hugo Halbrich … Anthony Taylor
Veronica Mari … Melissa Taylor
Mimi Rivera … Debra Miles
Kevin Schiele … Richard Patterson
Pablo Tur … Forensic M.D.
Alicia Vidal … Helen
Daniel De La Vega