DIRECTOR: D.J. Viola
Rob Warren Thomas
Kirby Bliss Blanton
Anna is a college student who is looking for some part-time work to earn a little extra cash. One night while out at a bar, the bartender gives Anna a sheet of paper that has a large sum of money on it for taking part in a clinical drug trial. Not wanting to pass up the chance for some extra dough for the short amount of work, Anna joins a large group of college students who take part. Little do they realise that the side effects of the drug give them visions of how they will end up dying.
Tell Me How I Die is an interesting movie. It's one that originally left me torn. I'm not wholeheartedly sure that I enjoyed the overall film, but it's one that I can't really hate on it for trying to throw in something original when it comes to the slasher film. Here we have a thriller that plays like your typical run-of-the-mill slasher and even has a few of the tropes we've come to expect from these films but at the very same time adds it's own little twists on the formula.
The movie starts off rather interestingly. We have a group of college students who take part in this new two-week drug trial to earn some extra cash. They all come to this lovely facility where they'll be given this new drug and be monitored by the staff. It's $2000 for a couple of weeks of work. It sounds interesting enough that I would even consider taking part in it. The basic plot of the film had me intrigued from the very start.
Once our college students get to the facility and the movie starts picking up the pace, I was totally onboard with it. I was taking the premise, hook, line, and sinker. As the movie begins to unravel, we have a few of the willing participants start to experience precognition. This is where the film adds it's own little twist on the slasher formula. I am also well aware that this is the premise of the Final Destination series, but that had a more supernatural twist where this film takes the straight-up killer approach.
Things begin to go haywire in the medical facility when the college students and staff start turning up dead. This is where the movie starts to ramp up the blood and gore content. I have to hand it to the writers and director for pulling out a few rather nasty kills. They get pretty creative with their kills. There is a very 'Suspiria' like homage involving barbed wire and an air vent. We also have a nice head in a bear trap scene that left me very satisfied.
When it comes to building the tension, Tell Me How I Die has a few clever moments. The bear trap scene that I mentioned above is quite nifty when it comes to ramping up the tension. The movie also features a few moments where it comes to the stalk and slash scenes that had me glued to the screen while wondering where things are about to go. The movie isn't overly scary but has a few enjoyable moments that had me on the edge of my seat.
Visually, I think Tell Me How I Die is well made. It's very polished looking and all very clinical in its approach once inside the facility. There are a few very gorgeously slick moments outside the facility where D.J. Viola gets to use a couple of great shots with the snowy setting. Minus some terrible use of CGI when it comes to an explosion, I'm not able to really fault the film on a technical level. It's one of the more glossy horror films that I've seen in 2016.
The acting is okay for the most part. Nathan Kress and Virginia Gardner are our two main stars, and I enjoyed their dynamic. They both worked well off each other. Kirby Bliss Blanton who plays the bitchy blonde woman quite does it well, but at times her character does become grating, though. As does Ryan Higa as the comic relief. Martin Furze as our tough jock guy is on par with Kress and Gardner and it was good seeing him outside of the Australian soap Home And Away. A few nice supporting turns by William Mapother and Aliens, Mark Rolston.
Lastly, the ending needs to be mentioned as I think this will be what kills the film for a lot of people. While the movie has a pretty clever premise and the build-up is a lot of fun, I think the final feels like a bit of a cop-out. Everything that comes before the ending seems like it was all for nothing. We have a killer who seeks revenge and while the killer succeeds in getting it on the people he sets out to kill, he sort of just gives up when you think he will need to get rid of the witnesses that are still alive. It all sort of abruptly ends.
DEATH TOLL: 14
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A guy stabs himself in the stomach with a kitchen knife.
- Mustard gas is used to kill an entire dorm room of students.
- A woman is seen bleeding from the eyes.
- A foot and head snapped shut in a bear trap.
- Someone's throat is slashed.
- A dead body is seen lying in the stairwell.
- Face first into an air vent full of barbed wire.
- Stabbed in the chest with needles.
- Someone is smacked in the head with a pipe.
- People are stabbed in the chest.
- Two people are blown up.
Tell Me How I Die is a film that is worth a watch. The premise while appearing like a standard slasher film has a few neat tricks up its sleeve. The acting is above average, and the production is very polished. It also contains a few inventive and amusing kills. It's just a shame that the ending really does sort of throw away everything that it lays out before it. Still, the movie is worth the once off rental and watch. Not a complete waste of time but flawed.