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Death of Me Movie Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Released by Saban Films

death of me poster large

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman
Written Ari Margolis, James Morley III, and David Tish
2020, 94 minutes, Not Rated
Released on October 2nd, 2020

Starring:
Maggie Q as Christine
Luke Hemsworth as Neil
Alex Essoe as Samantha
Kelly B. Jones as Kanda
Kat Ingkarat as Madee
Chatchawan Kamonsakpitak as Dr. Anuman

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Review:

Vacation is a goal. It’s one of those things that you save money for, plan for, and schedule time away for. You’re voluntarily leaving the safety and known comforts of home for a little fun and adventure. The thing about adventure is that you have to be careful where you seek it. There’s an inherently scary aspect to vacation for precisely that reason – the absence of the safety net. Shit can go wrong in record time, and when you can’t even speak the language, you don’t want to be trying to negotiate a life or death situation.

That’s frightening enough without having seemingly an entire island of people out to get you.

In Death of Me, Christine (Maggie Q; Mission: Impossible III) and Neal (Luke Hemsworth; Westworld) awaken to find themselves highly out of sorts in a trashed room with no recollection of the previous night. Their passports and identification are gone. They do have a video, however, of Neal seemingly raping and murdering Christine before burying her in a shallow grave. But she’s still alive and stuck on the island! The frightened couple have a short time on their hands to unravel the mystery of what exactly happened (and is happening) to them. Also, there’s a massive hurricane bearing down on the tiny island off the coast of Thailand, but no one is concerned because, “We haven’t been hit by a hurricane in over 200 years!”

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Death of Me has all the trapping of a classic homage film that wears its influences proudly on the bloody front lapel of its cheap Hawaiian shirt. Darren Lynn Bousman already has the horror cred to carry any project with a library that includes Saw 2-4, Repo! The Genetic Opera, and St. Agatha. Here he dives into the underutilized subgenre of vacation horror to mine that already rich soil for a tale that feels like a modern-day reimagining of the Wes Craven classic The Serpent and the Rainbow mixed with Turistas visuals.

From the opening frame of Death of Me, there’s no time to mistake it for anything other than an immediate and intense waking nightmare that’s only going to get worse and worse. While that doesn’t do any favors for development in the area of characterization, it does get your anxiety up right out of the gate. It’s unabashedly a horror film designed to play on your empathy, but it’s paced like a straight action film. Sometimes a juxtaposition like that backfires in lesser hands, but Bousman is a skilled veteran who’s been making damn good horror for decades.

It can get a bit convoluted and oddly paced at times during the detective phase, but considering the structure isn’t really linear at all, that’s not a deal breaker. Take it as a head trip and ride the wave, folks, and you’ll see one of the better constructed mindfuck movies of the last few years (even if the reveal isn’t exactly a huge surprise).

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Death of Me isn’t an overly-gory film, relying more on powerful images of black magic and terrible shit like barfing up dirt and snakes. Still, when it’s time to spill some blood, the result is plenty visceral and chunky. There are some beautiful shots in a place of dangerously wild splendor, but you won’t mistake it for an arthouse film, either. There’s far too much disturbing stuff going down for that. Death of Me is a striking film with some genuinely memorable moments that may make you think a little more conservatively about how wise that “off the beaten path” tropical vacation really is.

Also, I have always hated the look of the beach at low tide. Death of Me doesn’t help with that at all, either.

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Grades:

Movie: 3.5 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Writer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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