On March 16, 2023, it was announced that Barbie Ferreira (Kat Hernandez in Euphoria) and Dacre Montgomery (Billy Hargrove in Stranger Things) will star in a remake of Faces of Death (1978). But how does an actor “star” in a remake of a movie that was originally presented as a documentary about death?
The answer is that the upcoming Faces of Death is not going to be a presented as documentary like its inspiration. That’s probably for the best. In a time when footage of real-life gore and violence is readily available online, a movie like the original Faces of Death just wouldn’t work. Instead, the new Faces of Death will be a scripted film that uses the original as inspiration for its story. So, more of a reimagining than a true remake. Here’s what we know so far about the movie:
The new plot revolves around a female moderator of a YouTube-like website, whose job is to weed out offensive and violent content and who herself is recovering from a serious trauma, that stumbles across a group that is recreating the murders from the original film. But in the story primed for the digital age and age of online misinformation, the question faced is are the murders real or fake?Isa Massei and Daniel Goldhaber, via Bloody Disgusting
The original Faces of Death was a mondo-inspired shockumentary. It became infamous for people’s claims that it contains horrific footage of real-life death. A few of the more notorious scenes include a man dying in an electric chair, someone killed by a bear, a cannibalistic cult, and people dining of extremely fresh monkey brains. All of that was faked, yet the movie’s notoriety persisted. To be fair though, there is footage of actual dead bodies and animal cruelty in the movie, so the line between reality and fiction was intentionally blurred.
The reimagining of Faces of Death looks like it will use that blurred line between fiction and reality as the main theme of its story. In modern society, where misinformation is rampant, how do we know what to believe? Crucially though, the new Faces of Death will be commenting on this idea rather than being an example of that idea like the original movie was.
The upcoming Faces of Death will be written by Isa Mazzei whom you may remember as the writer of the movie Cam (2018). Cam similarly blurred reality in an online space with its gripping psychological horror movie about a camgirl whose identity is stolen. Directing Faces of Death will be Daniel Goldhaber who directed Cam as well as the topical environmental justice thriller How to Blow Up a Pipeline (2022).