Credit: Saban Films
Before We Vanish by Daniel Gorman Film

Death of Me | Darren Lynn Bousman

October 29, 2020

Death of Me begins on a promising note, but lacks any follow-through or unique experience to warrant its making. 

There’s a scene early on in the shoddy new horror-thriller Death of Me where Neil (Luke Hemsworth) makes a Wicker Man joke to his wife Christine (Maggie Q). They’re vacationing on a small island off the coast of Thailand and, after a night of drunken revelry that neither can remember, they’ve discovered a video recording of him strangling her to death, then burying her corpse. Except she’s alive, standing right there in front of him, understandably confused. It’s a decent hook for a horror flick, and then this knowing comment grinds everything to a screeching halt. It’s a self-conscious bit of Tarantino-esque nonsense, the kind of thing that insecure filmmakers use to let the audience know that they know their genre history, a wink and a nudge. It’s simultaneously stupid and manages to tells you exactly where the rest of the narrative is going to go, and here it’s the first dumb decision in a movie full of dumb decisions. 

Put fairly, Death of Me is a mind-bogglingly tedious bit of vaguely racist horseshit that is devoid of chills, thrills, or even cheap gore. The film engenders thoughts of kung fu movies, Wu-Tang Clan, Geto Boys, Kool Keith, and Horrorcore, that long, fascinating history of overlap between hip hop and genre cinema, not because any of those things relates in any way to this particular movie, but because Death of Me wafts in one ear and out the other and viewers will need something else to think about. Another thing horror, action, and rap fans can agree on: there’s nothing worse than being fucking boring. Director Darren Lynn Bousman made his name on the Saw franchise, and it takes a unique (lack of) talent to make one wish they were instead watching one of those dumb nu-metal torture-porn slogs. 

Anyway, Neil and Christine run around this small island town, demanding answers to their admittedly unique predicament. This happens with alarmingly repetitive frequency, until finally a secondary character tells Christine exactly what’s going on in what amounts to about five minutes of exposition. Christine then spends the last reel trying to escape her gruesome fate, being chased by islanders who are supposedly scary because they’re not white, and then the movie ends. Based on the laundry list of co-financiers that scroll past during the film’s opening credits, one can only surmise that this was a tax shelter or money-laundering scheme for the producers and a paid vacation for the cast and crew. Hopefully they had a good time making it because no one will have a good time watching it.

Published as part of Before We Vanish | October 2020.