Love Comes to the Executioner DVD Review

Written by Sham

DVD released by THINKFilm

Written and directed by Kyle W. Bergersen
2006, Region 1 (NTSC), 90 minutes, Rated R
DVD released on August 16th, 2006

Jonathan Tucker as Heck Prigusivac
Ginnifer Goodwin as Dori Dumchovic
Christine Ebersole as Miriam Prigusivac
Jeremy Renner as Chick Prigusivac
Michael Fairman as Warden Stankovic
Sean Sweeney as Bix
Wendy Worthington as Nurse Cetnik


Love Comes to the Executioner is one of the many movies picked up during its film festival circuit, and it’s a prime example of why independent filmmakers are the best to turn to for quality moviemaking.

The film focuses on Heck (Jonathan Tucker – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)), who is a heck of a lot smarter (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun) than his immediate family. His mother (Christine Ebersole) is an alcoholic, his brother Chick (Jeremy Renner) is a distraught murderer, and his father was executed many years ago for suffering the aforementioned tribulations.

When Heck returns to his hometown, he immediately notices that if his mother doesn’t get help for her alcoholism, she’s going to die. Heck roams the streets in hopes of finding a job to pay for her medication, and the only one that seems decent is the “closer” at the nearby prison, which just so happens to be the place that has his insane brother, Chick, locked up.

The twist is Chick is on death row and, without previous knowledge of his position, Heck accepts his role as the “closer,” the person who executes the prisoners.

Through all of this, Heck slowly falls for the seductress inmate, Dori (Ginnifer Goodwin), who is also his brother’s ex-girlfriend, and is scheduled for execution. Can Heck save his alcoholic mother, the girl he loves, kill his brother and keep his sanity?

Love Comes to the Executioner is a dark comedy, full of ironic situations (becoming pregnant on the execution table) and hilarious dialogue. I admit to laughing for a few minutes when Heck, who is about to inject a lethal serum into a prisoner, is told to get out air bubbles because they can be fatal.

While the movie has its funny moments, it also borders on the inane. It takes a while to get into gear, but the movie becomes better paced as Heck becomes transfixed on his job at the prison. Scenes between Jonathan Tucker, Jeremy Renner, and Ginnifer Goodwin are very engaging, while random moments involving Heck’s ex-porn-star-mother feel a little less gutsy. I will give credit to actress Christine Ebersole, who has a great moment when she describes to Heck certain key scenes from her pornographic movie Back Door Barbecue. (“I didn’t know you could do that with barbecue tongs” — “It’s all about relaxing during the exhale. Want me to show you?”)

Writer and director Kyle W. Bergersen shows excellent craftsmanship with the camera, creating superb ambiance in key scenes. There’s a great moment during Heck’s interview at the prison, in which he uncomfortably eyeballs a twitchy fan that continues to jerk between him and the interviewer. Perhaps this is symbolic of the story — a problematic circle separating good from evil.

The film has its share of flaws, but condemning the movie for them is like putting down a criminal for stealing tootsie pops.

Video and Audio:

Love Comes is incorrectly labeled as having a 16:9 full frame transfer. The 16:9 part is correct; the full frame is obviously wrong.

Despite this mistake, the widescreen picture is good, although a bit on the soft side. There are some macroblocking problems during a majority of the film, but it’s not incredibly noticeable amongst the movie’s brilliant orange hues.

The movie is presented in 5.1 Dolby Surround, and it’s a major improvement over the picture. The rears aren’t used as often as I’d like, but for a film of its type, I didn’t expect anything more than that. Most of the movie is focused on the dialogue. There isn’t anything boisterous that is distracting from the movie, but it’s never too quite either. Josh Mancell’s superior score is never overpowered by the dialect, and vice versa. It’s all very balanced.

Special Features:

  • Cast Interviews
  • Outtakes
  • Trailers

I suppose the biggest feature on the DVD is the cast interviews segment, which is inherently a 13-minute look into the life of the movie’s characters and the performers that play the parts. The actors, consisting of Tucker, Renner, Goodwin, and Ebersole, talk about their roles, why they chose to do the film, and what they liked about the movie. It’s a good watch, although I didn’t like how many clip insertions from the movie they added between the interviews.

Following that are outtakes, which run about 5 minutes. They’re pretty funny, even though they mostly consist of the actors forgetting their lines.

Finishing off the DVD’s features are the trailers, which include previews for The Zodiac, 10th & Wolf, Down in the Valley and Love Comes to the Executioner.


Movie: 3.5 Stars – A wittedly morbid film with hilarious dialogue.
Video: 2.5 Stars – Flawed, but it’s decent.
Audio: 4 Stars – Better than the picture. It’s neither too muted nor too loud.
Features: 2.5 Stars – I’m not much for commentaries, but I think this DVD could have used one.
Overall: 3 stars – Although the DVD isn’t the best it can be, the movie holds its own enough to recommend a purchase.


Love Comes to the Executioner is justification why the indie market is the best area to look to for excellent filmmakers, actors, and — of course — motion pictures.

This is an easy rental and, although the DVD doesn’t have much to offer, the rewatchibility factor of the movie warrants a purchase.

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