Artists in Agony (2023)

Ever heard of the Coda Treehouse Massacre?  No?  Well, you aren’t alone.  But, thanks to this fabulously off-the-wall mockumentary, you can now be in the know about how to look cool while shooting the bad guys because award-winning filmmaker Kenneth Lui‘s highly-anticipated crime comedy Artists in Agony, will hit VOD platforms worldwide July 21 from Global Digital Releasing.

"embraces its violent content with reckless swagger and abandon which plays nicely in bouts of laughing fits"

Haikus and all, Artist in Agony: Hitmen in the Coda Teahouse begins and ends with a hilarious bang as “recently discovered” footage merges with some awesome interviews which recount one filmmaking crew’s journey into how four famous hitmen - Frosty (the new father), Lucien Mercy (the stay-at-home mom), Red Rick (the romantic), and his apprentice Lady Faith (the rising star) - ended up dead in the Coda Teahouse.  But how were they killed?  Ex-CIA Agent Jonathan Sully, thinks he knows how: by the deadly hands of the well-known assassin known as Rockstar.

With guns blazing in almost every interview as lovers discover secrets revealed and respond in hilarious manners, Artists in Agony is narratively guided by Sully as he walks us through the assembled interviews, the new footage, and the legendary sex.  It turns out all of these assassins have a connection with Rockstar, including the survivors in the assassin community.

Starring Melanee Nelson, Courtney Sara Bell, Paul Byrne, and Ken Breding, this hilarious mockumentary is damn funny, spoofing the usual sensitivities contained in a normal documentary with wonderful results.  The edits are on point and, as assassins are grilled for what they do, the talking heads are often interrupted with reasons why they kill people for a living: you know, for supplemental income.   Artists in Agony (2023)

Written, directed, and shot by Kenneth Lui (who is a professional editor and worked on major motion pictures for Marvel and DC such as Captain America: Civil War, Batman V Superman, and Guardians of the Galaxy as a Visual Effects artist), Artists in Agony handles the idea of killing people for a living with a very straight approach, resulting in an off-the-cuff attitude which comes across in fine form as groups of regular people casually talk about murder. 

The film embraces its violent content with reckless swagger and abandon which plays nicely in bouts of laughing fits.  This is just an absolute joy to watch.  In fact, this cinéma-vérité style approach to the subject matter plays as if these actors are a part of a comedy troupe as four hitmen’s lives and deaths are satirized with tongue firmly in cheek.

Artists in Agony is available to watch on digital July 21st.  Are you Rockstar?  No?  Well, how do you know?  You could be.

5/5 stars

Film Details

Artists in Agony (2023)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
99 mins
: Kenneth Lui

Melanee Nelson; Ariadne Shaffer; Kate Huffman
: Documentary
They put the Sass in Assassin.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Global Digital Releasing
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 21, 2023 (digital platforms)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: A mockumentary dark comedy where a camera crew follows four hitmen who end up getting killed in the infamous Coda Teahouse Massacre.


Artists in Agony (2023)