Movie Review: Death of Me
We’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel now. Those few remaining releases from this wretched year still linger on my schedule, their appearance a sadly common theme. Death of Me, the latest horror film from Darren Lynn Bousman, is an absolute farce. A tragic example of how a director can be spoilt by too big a budget. Still, looking to Maggie Q and Luke Hemsworth together in a film that isn’t a complete disaster is a bold project to take on. Perhaps next time they should do something more engaging with the money. Burn it in a big pile, or maybe drop it down a well. Something that keeps funding away from Bousman’s horribly dense ideas.
Bousman throws us into this one immediately, our leading character Christine (Maggie Q), wakes up with no memory of what happened the night before. There are some obvious twists to this, then, with the main one being Christine waking up to a house covered in mud, a missing passport and a general sense of uneasiness. That’s how I wake up most mornings, just without the mud and passport. Imagine The Hangover, but instead of missing a tooth or finding themselves in possession of a lion, they’re missing commitment and depth to their roles. Chilling stuff. It takes quite some time to get to the real truth behind our mysterious introduction, but Death of Me does absolutely nothing.
Planting the seeds of horror in broad daylight very early on, Death of Me is embarrassingly forthright in its predilections. With high-strung orchestral sounds placed over just about any scene that could conceivably be vaguely scary, we suffer from far too much, far too often. Bousman’s work looks to recapture the jarring effects he found success with in Saw, but the colder moments, the grim lighting, and general competency found there is absent entirely in his latest movie. Throwing us in at the deep end seems to be his shtick, but it doesn’t work through a narrative dependent on slow-burning storytelling. The twist to this is given up to us around the eight-minute mark, with a rather insulting wink to the camera, as if audiences weren’t going to pick up on it and make the very simple link.
Hilariously messy, amateurish nonsense. Death of Me would be the death of Bousman’s career had he not scraped the pieces together and put Spiral on the backburner for next year. You wouldn’t think this was crafted by the man who brought us Saw. Then again, this doesn’t feel like it was crafted at all, more like it was erratically thrown together at the last minute to plug a hole in a release schedule. Throw two somewhat recognisable actors into these odd leading roles, have them spend two weeks on an island somewhere and then just piece the rest together in a studio or on a green screen. Marvellous efficiency, but that’s now why we watch films. There’s not a single second in this film that feels inspired, interesting, or at all unique in any way. I’m not surprised, I’m just supremely disappointed.