Review: Grungy 'Death of Me' feels like a death sentence
Courtesy of Saban Films
Darren Lynn Bousman’s painstakingly lifeless “Death of Me,” no so ironically feels like a death sentence. The “Saw” filmmaker whose film “Spiral” was delayed to May 2021 in response to Covid-19, doesn’t have a grasp on how campy or ridiculous the premise of his new film is. I’m sure distributor Saban Films was banking on Bousman’s big summer picture to help boost interest for “Death of Me,” but considering that’s no longer feasible, it forces them to confront the true reality of their picture. It’s awful.
Trying to spin itself as a riff on “Turistas” meets “Memento” the sloppy B-movie gives Maggie Q her most one dimensional role to date as Christine, whose caught in a pickle while vacationing in Thailand with her boyfriend, Neil (Luke Hemsworth). On the morning of their departure, they awaken hungover with no memory of the evening prior. Were they drugged? Beaten? Who knows, but when they find footage on Nick’s camera, all signs point to a pretty mellow evening until they watch, horrified, as Nick strangles his girlfriend to death, buries her, and throws away the shovel.
That’s odd considering she’s still conscious and breathing. So you can imagine the questions one might have on the legitimacy of this footage, but Bousman attempts to explain it black magic and weird locals who look trapped, begging for help. With the clock ticking and a deadly, tropical typhoon heading to shore - the next ferry doesn’t leave for another twenty-four hours - what ensues is an odd batch of characters that look plucked from “The Hills Have Eyes,” complete with their eyes and mouth sewn shut, and a narrative that loses its grasp on reality, faster than the rising body count of “Saw.”
Maggie Q and the least attractive Hemsworth brother do little to show common ground in their relationship, let alone why they traveled to Thailand in the first place. Most characters stare blankly at the screen and Brian J Smith’s choppy editing cuts back and forth so quickly, you barely have time to allow Ari Margolis, James Morely III, and David Tish’s already thin screenplay to resonate. Not that you’ll fully understand what’s happening anyway and the fact it took three screenwriters to come up with such a lifeless premise signals Hollywood will let anyone make movies.
There are some grotesque and jaw dropping moments (a character literally rips their intestines out of their stomach - YUM!) along with a few homages to “The Wicker Man” in regards to ritualistic sacrifice, but it's hard to overcome how dull and eventless “Death of Me” comes across.
Last seen in the equally terrible remake of “Fantasy Island,” Maggie Q is the rare on-screen female badass who can crush just about anyone in her path (“Live Free or Die Hard” proved that) but I hope one day she allligns herself with a vehicle that isn’t headed for a cliff, because I bet her and Charlize Theron would go at it.
DEATH OF ME will be available in theaters, On Demand and Digital October 2nd.