Death of Me Review - Agony in Paradise

Summary and Review of Death of Me

Christine: Maggie Q Neil: Luke Hemsworth Samantha: Alex Essoe Madee: Kat Ingkarat Director: Darren Lynn Bousman Release: 2020

"Death of Me" opens with married couple, Christine and Neil, awakening in their AirBnB apartment with a hangover and no recollection of what happened during the latter part of the previous evening. The apartment is a mess, Neil has dirty, bloodied hands and Christine has a strange talisman around her neck. However, there's no time to ponder as they have to catch the ferry to the mainland and they’re late. After a mad dash to the port, the couple discover that their passports are missing.

No passport, no ferry but there's another one that evening so there’s time to remedy the situation. Bewildered by their predicament, they return to their apartment where Neil reviews the previous evening's photos for clues as to where they might have been and what might have happened. To their horror, they discover a video of themselves drinking in a local bar and later, Neil strangling Christine to death and then burying her.

A woman who witnesses her own murder, while sitting next to the man who did it, both with no memory of the macabre events, is an intriguing premise and I looked forward to the possibilities. It could lead anywhere. Except it didn’t. Or maybe it went everywhere. Take your pick.

With a lively local festival in full swing and a major storm on the way Christine and Neil are surrounded by bustling activity and the couple’s efforts to leave the island are thwarted at every turn. As they rush hither and thither trying to investigate the mystery, Christine tumbles into, what seems like, a psychedelic drug induced nightmare causing menacing hallucinations. The problem was, that for all the intriguing scene-setting, the narrative became a series of random events, strung together with the aforementioned hallucinations, that I started to care less and less about as the story progressed. 

After the first act, “Death of Me” went on a downward trajectory of repetitive scenarios and pointless activity. Visits to and from various locations and not asking the right questions of the key characters became exasperating and it became clear that The Wicker Man (there’s even a cheeky reference to it) and Rosemary’s Baby provided more than just a passing influence.

There was a modicum of gore but no scares to speak of, which I would happily have accepted had there been a decent mystery to solve. But for all the decent production design with nice-looking set pieces, Death of Me failed to leave a breadcrumb trail leading the viewer to the “ah-ha” moment at the denouement. By the time the muddled finale arrived, I had lost all interest.

Visually, it was great with arresting shots of the gorgeous scenery and the score gets a special mention with haunting vocals alongside a throbbing soundscape when the tension ramps up. Both Maggie Q and Luke Hemsworth did their bit to hold the whole thing up but it wasn’t enough to compensate for the lack of a coherent storyline and confusing character motivations.

"Death of Me" cleverly draws in the viewer with an attention-grabbing opening but then failed to build on this and instead borrowed from better known films to prop it up, which was ultimately irritating and unsatisfying.




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