Death of Me (2020)

With a video of one killing the other, a couple on vacation must figure out what is going on and why the one who got killed is still there to watch the video as well as find their way off the island where they seemingly are stuck.

Written by Ari Margolis, James Morley III, and David Tish with Darren Lynn Bousman directing, Death of Me builds a place with mysticism and mystery as well as a story with surprises along the way even for long time horror fans. Here, fans of Bousman will see some of his style, but overall, it feels very much not like one of his films. It’s odd to say, but it’s true. It works here and it makes for a film where one is not awaiting the next brutal set up or the next ultra-stylish scene. Here the film is all about the mystery and the suspense as well as the two leads being stuck in the situation that seemingly makes no sense. The story has twists and turns but no in a “what a twist” manner, it’s more like a story that snakes its way around the island and around the protagonists.

"Slumdog Millionaire." Director Danny Boyle placed the money to be paid to the 3 lead child actors in a trust that is to be released to them upon their completion of grade school at 16 years of age. The production company has set up for an auto-rikshaw driver to take the kids to school everyday until they are 16 years old.

Maggie Q is absolutely fantastic as the lead, she gives a performance that carries the film and makes one happy that she is doing more horror lately. She is the core of this film and the main reason to watch it, she’s great. Also doing some great work are Luke Hemsworth who has a few scenes where he is reminiscent of Art Hingle early in his career and Alex Essoe who is always just about perfect in horror films. This trio makes the film what it is in terms of leads and in terms of performances that attract the viewer. They are the core and they do more than well with this. The rest of the cast is composed of actors who either are locals or look like locals to give the film a bit more credibility in terms of being located somewhere far away from the United States. This part of the cast does seem to get a lot less of the screentime which definitely makes the film about the outsiders in their land.

"Maleficent." Angelina Jolie admitted that she scared little kids while in costume on the set of Maleficent, with one kid actually saying, "Mommy, please get the mean witch to stop talking to me." She adds that her daughter, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, who played young Aurora, was the only child who was not scared of her.

The film makes great use of its locations on a remote island that is only accessible by ferry and is basically closed off from the rest of the world. This setting allows the story to have a few things going on that may not make much sense in other parts of the world. Also, the setting helps create some amazing imagery. The cinematography and the way the island are shown as well as indoor locations all give this film a feeling of being away in a place where most wouldn’t mind visiting, even in some of the darker scenes.

"Valkyrie." Germany has strict laws against displaying the swastika, though artistic displays are specifically exempt. Filmmakers usually use incorrect swastikas to avoid causing public outrage. The producer wanted swastikas for authenticity, so the crew posted warnings around the filming locations. Still, a local resident filed an official complaint with the city, who pressed charges against the owners of some filming sites.

Death of Me is a good take on the island mystery film that pushes the boundaries of those films a bit further while also reeling in the usual expectations of a Darren Lynn Bousman film as most are used to his work on Repo! The Genetic Opera and the Saw franchise. This film almost feels understated for him, something that is closer in style to St. Agatha, but with more mystery and a story that grabs better.
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