You’re gonna have to bear with me on this review. I watched “Death of Me,” available theatrically and on VOD beginning Friday, Oct. 2, almost a week ago and was kinda drunk while doing so. This may actually be appropriate for the picture, as it’s a trippy fever dream of a flick.
“Death of Me” stars everyone’s favorite Hemsworth brother (Luke!) and Maggie Q as vacationing couple Neil and Christine. He’s a travel writer and they’re winding down their trip to a Thai island. On their last night in country they’re out drinking and having a good time. Faster than you can say Roofie Coolada, the duo is drugged.
They wake up the following morning with no recollection of the previous evening, their passports are missing and there’s a video recording of Neil strangling Christine to death. Strange, as she’s very much alive, but probably wishes she weren’t due to a massive hangover.
The couple seek passage on a ferry, but are denied due to lack of passports. To make matters worse, the boat takes off with their luggage. It’s safe to say they’re up shit creek without a paddle and are stuck like a coupla Chuck’s. They’re left with no choice but to stay on the island and get to the bottom of what transpired the night before. The rest plays out in a manner that’s likely gonna give the Tourism Authority of Thailand fits.
Q and Hemsworth acquit themselves fairly well with their performances, but it’s her picture more than his. It’s mildly amusing to see Q in this so soon after “Fantasy Island.” It’s like the working vacation stage of her career has kicked into high gear. Who does this lady think she is? Adam Sandler or one of the multitude of buddies he keeps employed? Hemsworth has a somewhat strange screen presence. He looks a bit like his brothers. My wife thought he looked like Matt Damon. I thought he looked like Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s “A Good Year.” He’s simultaneously fit and flab. I get why he’s to the Hemsworth’s what Daniel is to the Baldwin’s (to further the analogy Chris is akin to Alec; Liam is like a hybrid of Stephen and William), but he’s good enough here that I’d be curious to see him in more stuff.
“Death of Me” is directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and written by Ari Margolis, James Morley III (co-writer of the 1999 Ice-T/Erika Eleniak modern day pirate picture “Final Voyage”!) and David Tish. I’m not exceedingly familiar with Bousman’s filmography having only seen his 2010 remake of “Mother’s Day” (a movie I engaged with even if I felt gross for doing so) prior to this. I always meant to see “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” but never got around to it. I saw James Wan’s “Saw,” but didn’t dig it so I never checked out the Bousman-directed sequels “Saw II,” “Saw III” or “Saw IV.” Despite not liking “Saw,” I’m very much interested in seeing Bousman’s upcoming “Saw” spinoff, “Spiral,” but this has more to do with Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson’s involvement than anything else. That said Bousman and his crew do a commendable job of capturing the island’s beauty as well as the grisliness that transpires.
The movie’s a bit of a mess, but is appropriately disturbing and/or disquieting when it wants to be. It’s often disorienting (that could be the booze and my memory talking), but I get the impression it’s meant to be. You likely know if a bouillabaisse of “The Wicker Man,” “Rosemary’s Baby” and any number of vacation horror flicks is up your alley or not. Just know this hews closer qualitatively to the Nic Cage “Wicker Man” as opposed to the Christopher Lee one.