Top critical review
One person found this helpful
Interesting premise, more sci-fi than horror, but the payoff fails to satis
on 26 May 2008
"The Deaths of Ian Stone" is really more science-fiction than it is horror, so it may well be the oddest of the 8 films 2 die 4 that made up the 2007 version of the After Death Horrorfest. Mike Vogel plays the title character, and after playing in a hockey game he is killed by an unseen creature. But the next thing we know there is Ian, waking up in his office. We might be tempted to think this Ian was just having a dream for the film's opening sequences, a common occurrence in horror films, but the title pretty much clues us in that this is not the case this time around. When Ian Stone dies a second time it becomes clear that this is going to becoming his daily routine until he figures out what is going on.
Being trapped in a day that keeps repeating itself or in your basic time loop has been a story line that has been used to great effect in the past. The obvious reference point is "Groundhog Day," but there have been classic episodes of televisions shows such as "Star Trek The Next Generation" ("Cause and Effect"), "The X-Files" ("Monday"), "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" ("Life Serial"), and most recently a hysterical episode of "Supernatural" ("Mystery Spot"). Then again there was "Day Break," a recent television show based on that premise that quickly sank beneath the waves of low Nielsen ratings, so the premise usually works, but not always. The problem is once we, along with Ian, learn what is really going on, that we get to flip a coin as to whether we are more confused or unimpressed by the answer. This is too bad because Vogel turns in a solid performance, within the limitations of the script. The same cannot be said for Jaime Murray who plays the villainess (being named "Medea" by her parents was a big clue). Murray is dressed up to look like she is the twisted cousin of Trinity from "The Matrix," and her deliver starts to sound more and more like she is trying to channel Natasha Romanov from "Rocky & Bullwinkle." If you buy into the argument that the villain is the most important character in a movie like this, then you are going to be disappointed on that score.
I do not want to get into what is really going on in this movie because (a) finding out is the point of watching the film and (b) I am not sure I could explain it so that you would really understand it let along think it was a neat idea. That would primarily be the shortcomings of the script by Brendan Hood ("They"). Director Dario Piana has plenty of CGI to play with, but there is really little going on with the pacing or editing of the film to make it particularly effective. In the final analysis, I round up on "The Deaths of Ian Stone" because of Vogel's performance and because while I was disappointed with the results I was actually thinking of ways to improve the script. Most of the other Horrorfest 2007 entries have not been worth the effort. As you probably expect by now, all we get for bonus features on the DVD are the Miss Horrorfest Contest webepisodes (along with the trailers for Jessica Alba's "The Eye," the Horrorfest 2006) and 2007 sets. and "Wristcutters - A Love Story." Reminds me of last year when I actually saw Horrorfest in the theater and before each and every movie they showed the trailer for "Captivity," a.k.a. the movie that never came to town. Here I am three-quarters of the way through these eight films and already it is clear that last year's offerings, flawed as they were, were superior to this crop.
Next up, the penultimate film of Horrorfest 2007, "Lake Dead." The tag line is "Beneath its calm surface lies the deepest nightmare," so it has to be a more conventional horror film than this one (plus it is unrated which I know is suppose to indicate more blood and gore than the human mind can take, but really just means they did not bother to get it rated again when they added whatever they added to it--see how cynical I am getting in my old age?).