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Death Grip is a 2012 film by Eric Jacobus starring members of The Stunt People and Johnny Yong Bosch. Kenny (Jacobus) is a former drug dealer, now working as a caterer. At the start of the film, he is checking his brother Mark out of a group home, after fifteen years of separation, possibly linked to the death of their mother in a house fire, for which both sibling blames themselves. When called in for emergency catering at a museum event, Kenny is forced to bring Mark along. The two brothers are present at the museum when a satanic cult, the Knights of Judas, arrives to steal one of the exhibits, one of the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas in the Gospel. When the cult kidnaps Mark, Kenny is forced to descend into the depths of their compound to rescue his brother.


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This film exhibits the following tropes:

  • Ambiguous Disorder: Mark is socially stunted, doesn't make eye contact very often, is occasionally obsessed with order such as where he replaces hors d'oeuvres as they're being consumed, and is fixated on locking doors behind him. In the Director's Commentary, they specifically state that it was supposed to be some degree of autism.
  • Barehanded Blade Block: Initially, Kenny halts the virgin sacrifice by grabbing the blade bare-handed. Unfortunately, eventually the cult leader pulls hard enough to wrench it free, cutting Kenny's hand and the victim's throat.
  • Bathroom Brawl: The Sacred Coin of Judas gets flushed down an automatic toilet and this leads to Torch trying to kill Kenny. The entire bathroom nearly gets destroyed in the ensuing brawl.
  • Chain of Deals: Mark managed a cycle like this in the group home, involving soap, pills, and jello. It worked until one of the people died because they weren't taking their pills.
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  • Dark and Troubled Past: Kenny and Mark's mother died in a house fire. Shortly thereafter, Kenny went onto the streets and started dealing drugs, and Mark was sent to a group home. Both believe themselves to blame. Kenny was playing with airplane glue, which started the fire. Mark locked the house door behind him as he left, trapping their mother. According to the Director Commentary, the title of the film is about the "death grip" that the brothers keep on their guilt.
  • Daydream Surprise: Kenny is prone to these, visualizing a fight in his head, inevitably making it much more cinematic and complicated than it turns out to be.
  • The Ghost: Torch seeks to overthrow Mushatiq, his superior in the Knights of Judas and keeps asking people in the film about him. He's also convinced that Kenny must be Mushatiq. Word of God in the commentary is that Mushatiq does show up in the film, but that they want the audience to decide who he was (although they also say that they're glad to tell anyone who asks them via email).
  • Knife Nut: One of the cult members, Dominic, is obsessed with playing Five Finger Fillet, generally with someone else's hand. He later employs the knives against Kenny.
  • Kung-Shui: The bathroom fight between Torch and Kenny absolutely destroys said room.
  • Made of Iron: Kenny is beaten, cut, shot, stabbed, and kicked through walls and yet he just keeps on going.
  • Master of Unlocking: Mark has an almost preternatural talent with locks, and is able to replicate two keycodes from having overheard them being typed in while he was asleep.
  • Mook Chivalry: Played With. The Knights aren't afraid to attack en masse, and initially Kenny fares badly until, as discussed in the commentary, he keeps isolating one guy and waling on him while ignoring the others. Soon, no one wants to the one attacking because if they're that one guy, they won't fare so well, and so they flee.
  • Public Domain Artifact: One of Judas's thirty pieces of silver
  • Religion of Evil: The Knights of Judas practice human sacrifices involving virgins and have generic pagan imagery around their hideout, primarily a hand holding a dagger, sometimes flanked by wings. According to the Director's Commentary, the cult believes that all power is secured through betrayal.
  • Slashed Throat: This is how the sacrificial victim is killed. Realistically, there is a lot of blood involved and it takes a while for her to die.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: The Knights of Judas believe one is needed for their ritual to work. After the first sacrifice dies without the ritual being completed properly, they grab Mark for a second try.

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