Movie Review: ‘Death Of Me’

Review by James Lindorf

Director Darren Lynn Bousman is best known for his involvement with the “Saw” series, having directed three of the previous installments and the upcoming reboot “Spiral.” Bousman is at home again in the horror genre, but his latest film, “Death of Me”, is a distinctly different type of horror film. The film was written by the “Black Days” duo Ari Margolis and James Morley III, along with producer turned screenwriter David Tish. Maggie Q (Divergent) and Luke Hemsworth (Westworld) star as Christine and Neil, who must unravel the mystery behind a strange video that shows one of them killing the other. “Death of Me” will see a limited theatrical release on October 2nd, the same day it will be available through On Demand platforms.

The film evokes the name of one of its most significant influences, “The Wicker Man.” There is a chance it may remind some viewers of last year’s mind-bending horror film “Midsommar.” If you know either of those films, you may have an idea of where the story goes. That is a fact I may typically feel wrong about divulging, but the filmmakers show their hand by referencing that famous film. Sometimes the journey matters more than the destination, and that is never truer than when you know what is waiting for you at the end of the path. So, the question that has to be asked is, did “Death of Me” get us there in a creative, intelligent, and hopefully horrific way.

The quick answer to that crucial question is no. Hallucinations have a long and storied history in horror films, but “Death of Me” suffers from too much of a good thing. The abundance of hallucinations is the only way Bousman can add anything resembling tension to the film. This over-reliance results in the film’s plot constantly stumbling to a halt. Every time you think the story may be taking a step forward, it is just an elaborate hallucination or results in something or someone else that won’t help them off the island. Bousman was able to employ some of the gore he is known for in these moments. One particularly effective scene involving self-mutilation will go down as the movie’s most memorable moment.

The story is not a reason to tune in, but the most substantial reason you should consider giving “Death of Me” a chance is the stellar performance of Maggie Q. The film is off and running from the jump. Hence, we never get to see Maggie play the character simply as someone in love with their partner and enjoying a tropical vacation. However, her ability to play the angry, terrified, and confused victim is impressive, and the only thing that keeps your attention on the screen and off your phone. If the story were as elevated as her performance, there would have been something exceptional here. Instead, it has to hope for cult status.

Rating: R for Violence, Gore, Sexual Content, Language
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Horror
Original Language: English
Director: Darren Bousman
Producer: David Buelow, Charlie Dorfman, Lee Nelson, David Tish
Writer: Ari Margolis, James Morley III, David Tish
Release Date (Theaters): Oct 2, 2020 Limited
Release Date (Streaming): Oct 2, 2020
Runtime: 1h 34m

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