Obnoxious horror auteur Alfred Costella (Vinny Curran) plans his comeback film, which will also be his last, so he hires a film crew to document the making of his gory masterpiece, Everybody Dies by the End. Calvin (writer/co-director Ian Tripp) and his soundman, Mark (Joshua Wyble), witness the filmmaker at this worst as he pushes and humiliates his actors before things head into the inevitable shocking climax.
Opening the film is a vintage interview in which Costella shows his demented side when quizzed by the laid-back, sardonic chat show host Willy Wilson (Bill Oberst, Jr). Going completely off the rails, this is the moment that put a nail in the coffin of Costella’s career, and it’s an excellent sequence that replicates the arty, high-and-mighty film shows of the ‘80s perfectly. It’s an exaggeration of those goading chats with famous people who storm off when their egos are not massaged enough.
The rest of the movie is shot through the documentarian’s lens and shows the nasty side of filmmaking. An aggressive, egotistical director who has surrounded himself with sycophants who he’ll butter up and smack down in equal measure. Co-directed by Tripp and Ryan Schafer, it’s an uncomfortable satire of a toxic workplace that’s packed with pitch-black comedy. While it doesn’t always land its target, it’s an entertaining, if predictable, look at the nastier side of Hollywood. With a director on the precipice of a murderous, nihilistic breakdown, fuelled by his sense of self-importance and talent, the film is a damning indictment of bad behaviour in the workplace, and although it’s uncomfortable to experience in places, it keeps things watchable.