Desperation is a killer.

Fantastically staged and realized, Failure! is a single-take master act in tension building as James (Ted Raimi, The Quarry, Ash v Evil Dead, Creepshow) is given one hour to choose between financial ruin or murder!  It’s all to protect his family . . . or so it seems.  You know, legacies can be tricky things . . .

. . . especially when debt is involved.  Failure! keeps it real . . . or does it?!


"a single-take master act in tension building"

Loaded with crazy characters all hellbent to push James off the edge of sanity, Failure! operates on many levels as pride takes roost next to James’ being a father and his role as a business owner.  Which is more important?!?!?!?!

And Raimi is perfectly cast, bringing life to the multiple layers of desperation and the aftermath of extreme actions his character faces in light of his privacy being invaded time and time again.  The film builds upon his performance and Raimi is up for the challenge, playing a persona we have yet to see from the actor.  It’s challenging and Raimi is perfect in the role. 

Writer and director Alex Kahuam, as well as cinematographer Ernesto Lomeli, keep the pressure on James, too, as the camera never cuts from his prison.  Never resting for long as a serious mind-trip is revealed, full of tension and one hell of a lead character in Raimi’s hands.  James can be careful, unrelentingly harsh, and absolutely lovable all in the same scene.Failure!

The single-take and the in-your-face cinematography brings an urgency to the action as the hour he has to decide his fate starts ticking away.  The shoot feels impressionistic; challenging the audience with multiple stresses and a camera which simply doesn’t rest in the midst of all the chaos. 

James is having a really bad day.   From the debt owed to the bank to the folks skimming off of his business, things mount up and then twist at his very core, challenging him to weigh consequences in light of the human condition we all experience.

Co-starring Merrick McCartha (Senior Year), Melissa Diaz (Ruthless), John Paul Medrano (Seven Days) and Daniel Kuhlman (Voodoo MacBeth) and Noel Douglas Orput, the psychology journey into James’ mind is compounded by the characters that invade his consciousness.  He’s never alone, but how much of it is real?

Failure!, will have its World Premiere at FrightFest on August 28th. Alief picked up worldwide rights at the Cannes Film Festival in May after Failure! made its debut at the Fantastic Pavillion.  The film is now streaming on the usual platforms.

Let the unraveling begin!

4/5 stars

Film Details


MPAA Rating: Unrated.
87 mins
: Alex Kahuam
Alex Kahuam
Ted Raimi Merrick McCartha Noel Douglas Orput
: Comedy | Crime | Drama
Success is overrated...murder isn't.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor: Alief
Official Site:
Release Date: August 28, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
Synopsis: Failure! follows James (Raimi - The Quarry, Ash v Evil Dead, Creepshow) who has a big debt with the bank and is given one hour to choose between financial ruin or murder in order to protect his family. As the hour progresses he finds his home and phone invaded by multiple characters pulling him in different directions, gradually adding to his distress and his unravelling. But who is real and who isn’t?