Available In Theatres, On Demand and Digital on 10/2
Synopsis: A vacationing couple must unravel the mystery behind a strange video that shows one of them killing the other.
Stars: Maggie Q, Luke Hemsworth, Alex Essoe, Kat Ingkarat, Kelly B. Jones
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman
Running Length: 94 minutes
TMMM Score: (4.5/10)
Review: My goodness, doesn’t the poster for Death of Me promise something just absolutely terrifying? It’s one of those arresting images that instantly catches your eye and, like a juicy steak cooking on a grill that has made many a cartoon dog float across a yard in ecstasy once he gets a whiff, it’s meant to attract horror hounds who happily chow down on tasty treats such as this. The trouble is, the poster is by far the best thing about this new frightener which squanders a perfect locale and good-looking cast in favor of a recycled plot, substandard scares, and a general lack of energy that does more to kill the mood than anything supernatural.
The last morning of a vacation is always rough but for married couple Neil and Christine it’s particularly head spinning. Their room is a tangled mess, Christine (Maggie Q, Allegiant) is covered with some strange substance and Neil is disoriented to the point where he’s no help at all. Scrambling to meet their ferry, they are unable to board without their passports which have gone missing. Back at their vacation rental and backtracking their steps to find their missing documents, they begin to put the pieces back together and remember the night before. Both eventually recall a strange encounter with a waitress at a local watering hole who gave Christine a drink and a charm she now wears around her neck. That’s pretty much all they remember…so it’s a good thing Neil (Luke Hemsworth, Thor: Ragnarok, no, not that Hemsworth. No, not that one…yes, that’s the one) has a lengthy video on his phone they can watch.
What they see on his phone can’t be true because it ends with Christine dead and buried six feet under the ground. Yet, come to think of it, that might explain a lot about the state both were in when they woke up earlier that morning. Shrugging off this impossibility quite quickly (not to mention the distressing suggestion Luke, y’know, murdered his wife and buried her and now doesn’t remember it) the make contact with their host (Alex Essoe, Homewrecker) who is friendly enough (or IS she?) and lets them stay on another day or so while they figure out what’s happening and why Christine can’t seem to take off her new necklace without looking….well, dead. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s transpiring and the script, credited to a whopping THREE screenwriters, eventually doesn’t bother with coherence as characters change motivations and nightmares become reality which are really dreams but wait are they real? Everything seems to be made up as it goes along, which makes the whole thing feel flimsy.
Director Darren Lynn Bousman was behind the camera for three of the Saw films and also directed the twisted musical Repo! The Genetic Opera as well as one of the segments of the fun anthology Tales of Halloween but something is missing the execution here. Much of it has to be attributed to the script which just isn’t that special and therefore creaks through the motions toward an ending that you’re likely able to suss out before the film is half over. I also wish the leads had a bit more of an edge to them. The least known Hemsworth brother, Luke is mostly cardboard and forgettable as is, regrettably, Maggie Q doing most of the heavy lifting as Christine. Maggie Q is always someone I’m rooting for to be better than the material she’s given, to find a way to rise above it…but it just doesn’t stick.
I can see this one being a small diversion for folks looking for a well-produced horror film this Halloween season. The Thailand setting is nice, even if it doesn’t paint the island or the locals in any kind of positive light, and when it does manage to drum up some suspense by instilling some gross-out gore, it’s handled with some measure of sick charm. Still, we’re at the point where audiences know you can do a lot with a little if you have the right elements and Death of Me is lacking in several key areas to make it come alive.