I'll Take Your Dead Movie Review

Written by Gareth Beverstock

Released by Black Fawn Films


Directed by Chad Archibald
Written by Chad Archibald and Jayme Laforest
2018, 83 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Frightfest London premiere on 24 August 2019

Aidan Devine as William
Ava Preston as Gloria
Jess Salgueiro as Jackie
Brandon McKnight as Carter
Michael Reventar as Diaz


I’ll Take your Dead is the newest offering from the jack-of-all-Trades film-maker Chad Archibald. We are introduced to William and his Daughter Gloria, a family living isolated out in the middle of a snow-covered nowhere, getting by on the income William makes from animal husbandry and being the “Candy Butcher”, a criminal underworld disposal specialist with an almost mythical reputation. Criminals drop dead bodies at his door with a fee, which he dutifully takes care of by cutting them into pieces and melting them away in a bathtub.

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This film is more interested in the emotional scars that have come about due to his activities. For William, forced into doing something terrible to protect what little happiness he has left in the world, his daughter, feels like something else important in him has withered. Gloria has grown up surrounded by death, resulting in her becoming isolated and cold, yet still a naïve child at heart. They share wonderfully heartfelt, if at times, somewhat awkward, moments. The best example is their little saying that crops up throughout, “To sunrises and sunsets”, a simple phrase regarding the long night William feels they live in, the perpetual winter that surrounds them, but also the hope that a time will come when things get better.

Some of the performances are really good; Aidan Devine who plays William is convincing in his role of a father who has had to make many difficult decisions to protect his family, but also one that is increasingly aware that those decisions are affecting his daughter. His clumsy awkwardness when dealing with Gloria’s very personal issues is endearing. Ava Preston as Gloria, slowly comes out of herself and matures with the impact that Jackie has on the family, and is relatable, though at times it seems forced. Jess Salgueiro as Jackie has some really solid scenes as the victim helped back to life by a person she’s only thought of as some mythical monster. It just feels like she is slightly less rounded than William, resulting in some elements that feel clichéd. The worst character is one of the antagonists Reggie (Ari Millen). In fact, all the antagonists appear as shallow and ultimately a hollow threat. As soon as you see them you know that their existence will be little more than a footnote.

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The rest of the film feels more like melodrama than horror, dealing more with the emotional than the horrific. Though there are some interesting scares and the odd jump, the supernatural element feels underdeveloped, leading to some significant plot holes.

Other aspects, such as the cinematography and editing, are pretty solid, though nothing that really stands out. And this is I’ll Take Your Dead’s problem, it doesn’t want to push boundaries. There is nothing that visually challenges the audience. The few scares, though interesting, leave no lingering impression. The action feels a little flat, almost like it was put there to tick a box, with little consideration for what might have worked better to compliment the emotional dilemmas that are central to the rest of the film.

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I’ll Take your Dead isn’t a terrible film, and at times it pulls the heartstrings exceptionally well with the emergent emotional bond between the three central characters. It’s just quite forgettable. The impact of the emotional elements fades all too quickly, the scares and tension of the horror evaporate within seconds of being revealed and alluding to the ending at the very beginning results in the more perceptive members of the audience becoming well aware of how the film will ultimately resolve, leaving an empty aftertaste to an otherwise average film.


Movie: 3 Star Rating Cover

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