A Horrible Way to Die

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A Horrible Way to Die
A Horrible Way to Die (movie poster).jpg
Directed by Adam Wingard
Produced by
Written by Simon Barrett
Music by Jasper Justice Leigh[1]
  • Chris Hilleke
  • Mark Shelhorse
Edited by Adam Wingard
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment[2]
Release date
  • September 14, 2010 (2010-09-14) (TIFF)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $75,000

A Horrible Way to Die is a 2010 American horror film written by Simon Barrett, directed by Adam Wingard, and produced by Travis Stevens, Simon Barrett, and Kim Sherman. The film follows the journey of an escaped serial killer as he chases down his ex-girlfriend. It had its world premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival Vanguard program where it was picked up for distribution by Anchor Bay Entertainment.[2] It also played at Fantastic Fest[3] where it received three major awards: Best Screenplay for Simon Barrett, Best Actor for AJ Bowen and Best Actress for Amy Seimetz.[4]


In rural Missouri, serial killer Garrick Turrell (A. J. Bowen) escapes from police custody and immediately resumes taking the lives of strangers whilst searching for his ex-girlfriend, Sarah. Meanwhile, having met at group therapy for recovering alcoholics, Sarah (Amy Seimetz) and Kevin (Joe Swanberg) begin to develop a tentative relationship. As the body count builds, Turrell makes his way to Sarah's new location just as she seems to be getting her life in order.


  • AJ Bowen as Garrick Turrell
  • Melissa Boatright as Jessie
  • Steven Buehler as State Trooper 1
  • Brandon Carroll as Rusty
  • Jen Huemmer as Dark-haired woman
  • Lane Hughes as Reed
  • Whitney Moore as Daphne
  • Kelsey Munger as Elizabeth
  • Amy Seimetz as Sarah
  • Joe Swanberg as Kevin
  • Holly Voges as Carla
  • Michael J. Wilson as Jones


Barrett estimated the budget at $75,000.[5]


A Horrible Way to Die debuted on 14 September 2010 at the Toronto International Film Festival and opened in other film festivals on the dates given below.

Region Release date Festival
Canada September 14, 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
United States September 26, 2010 Fantastic Fest[3]
Spain October 11, 2010 Sitges Film Festival[6][7]
United States October 15, 2010 Hawaii International Film Festival
United States October 16, 2010 Philadelphia Film Festival
United States November 6, 2010 Denver International Film Festival[8][9]
Sweden November 12, 2010 Stockholm International Film Festival[10]
United Kingdom November 14, 2010 Leeds International Film Festival[11]
Canada April 15, 2011 Calgary Underground Film Festival[12]

The film has been shown as a special Valentine's Day screening at the independent Showroom cinema in Sheffield, UK.[13]

Home release[edit]

A Horrible Way to Die was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc in the United States on September 6, 2011. Bonus materials include audio commentary with director/editor Adam Wingard and writer/producer Simon Barrett and a Behind The Scenes of A HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE featurette.[14]


Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 63% of eight surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.3/10.[15] Metacritic rated it 52/100 based on five reviews.[16] Dennis Harvey of Variety wrote that the film is "strongly reminiscent of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" but lacks that film's impact.[17] Jeannette Catsoulis of The New York Times called it "a restrained, ripely atmospheric thriller that relies more on mood than on special effects".[18]


  1. ^ "Horrible Way To Die by Adam Wingard". Stockholm International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  2. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (2010-09-17). "TORONTO: Anchor Bay Deal For Thiller 'Horrible Way To Die'". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  3. ^ a b "Fantastic Fest 2010 : A Horrible Way to Die". Fantastic Fest. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  4. ^ Metz, Daniel (2010-09-27). "FANTASTIC FEST 2010 AWARDS ANNOUNCED!". Fantastic Fest. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  5. ^ Miska, Brad (2009-01-22). "Is 'Red Sands' Really a Sequel to 'Dead Birds'? What's Next?!". Bloody Disgusting. 
  6. ^ "Noves Visions, the most indie and daring section at SITGES 2010". PRIVATE FOUNDATION SITGES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF CATALONIA. 2010-09-23. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  7. ^ "Sitges Film Festival » A Horrible Way to Die". PRIVATE FOUNDATION SITGES INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL OF CATALONIA. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  8. ^ "The Watching Hour At The 33rd Starz Denver Film Festival". Denver Film Society. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  9. ^ "Films: A Horrible Way To Die". Denver Film Society. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  10. ^ "Festival program 2010". Stockholm International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  11. ^ "A Horrible Way to Die – Leeds International Film Festival". Leeds International Film Festival. Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  13. ^ "A Horrible Way to Die - Showroom & Workstation". Showroomworkstation.org.uk. 2012-02-14. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  14. ^ "Anchorbay Entertainment : A Horrible Way to Die". Anchorbay Entertainment. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  15. ^ "A Horrible Way to Die (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 
  16. ^ "A Horrible Way to Die". Metacritic. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 
  17. ^ Harvey, Dennis (2010-09-17). "Review: 'A Horrible Way to Die'". Variety. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 
  18. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (2011-08-11). "The Serial-Killer Story Takes a New Twist". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-08-14. 

External links[edit]