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ALL YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD Review – Old Friends Unite for a Bloodbath in the Woods

Sarah Kirk says All Your Friends Are Dead is a horror comedy with bloody gore and heartfelt moments.

Still from ALL YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD (2022), co-written and co-directed by Ricky Glore and Nicholas Hiance.
Courtesy of Ricky Glore

All Your Friends Are Dead is an independent horror comedy with quirky dialogue, awkward reunions, and an unexpected killer in the woods co-written and co-directed by Ricky Glore and Nicholas Hiance. Starring Chance Kilgour, Jason Ervin, Eileen Earnest, and Patrick Johnston, the slasher is overflowing with strong themes, comedy-fused interactions, and moments of engaging filmmaking. It addresses suicide, mental health, and the pains of adulthood.

Matt Wilbee (Glore) is unhappy with himself and upset about the trajectory of his life. Unable to see any future for himself, he sends a suicide email to his high school group of friends, 'The Pack.’ He tragically tries to hang himself at the campsite where he last met his friends, who arrive just in time to save him. The friends enjoy an exciting reunion that quickly goes awry as they find themselves being hunted by a masked killer.

Matt deals with suicidal thoughts and depression because he feels inadequate compared to his peers. He notices how much his old school friends have changed when they reunite. One is a mother of two, one has cancer, and one has become an egotistical jerk. Nobody is where they expected to be. Will's old flame, Sarah (Earnest), reassures him that he isn't a loser and explains he still has a life to live and explore.

With his job, daily struggle, and unhealthy coping strategy of excess alcohol consumption, Will's life has become monotonous. He feels mentally imprisoned by his past, and his thoughts revert to high school when his life felt hopeful. He returns to high school in a dream, but this time it is empty except for the occasional creepy mannequin. His apparent mental block is evident. The dream symbolizes his inability to let go of the past and furthers his continuous engagement in a cycle of depression. His thoughts, feelings, and experiences are relatable.

Still from ALL YOUR FRIENDS ARE DEAD (2022), co-written and co-directed by Ricky Glore and Nicholas Hiance.
Courtesy of Ricky Glore

As the old friends reunite to save Will, common themes arise–through anxiety, nostalgia, and acceptance, the characters talk about the good old times and reminisce on fond memories. However, time changes everything. Each has endured trials and tribulations, accepting their lives aren't the same. The point of depicting the friends' various experiences is to showcase that we go at our own pace in life and end up at different destinations, and that's normal.

All Your Friends Are Dead serves as a reminder of the importance of friendship. Will's life would have taken a much darker turn if not for the loyalty of his friends who came to his aid. It's also an example of introspection. As Will reflects on his life, he reflects on where things have gone wrong. Although his self-analysis is largely negative, it is still an important part of his development. My engagement with the film wasn't particularly high, but the character interactions and overall message of friendship nearly make up for it.

All Your Friends Are Dead received a limited Blu-ray release.



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