It took a little planning, but I did manage to get a Halloween themed month going for my Now Playing page, and I'm pretty excited about it. For my first review of the month, I take a look at the VOD title, 'Death of Me'; a cautionary tale about travelling internationally, and another film to add to the new potential trend of "travel horror", with which I took a look at 'The Rental' and 'Fantasy Island' earlier this year. It could be the next step with things like Air B&B. Even though it's not entirely original, it's scary stuff to think about when travelling to an unfamiliar land.
The film opens with vacationing couple, Christine (Maggie Q) and Neil (Luke Hemsworth) waking up after a heavy night of drinking, in a hotel room on a remote island in Thailand. They have no memory of the night before, but the real problem is that their passports have gone missing. In an attempt to recall the previous night, Neil takes a look at his phone, only to find a video of him brutally murdering Christine, and burying her, giving at least some explanation to the dirt in the bed Christine wakes up in... but not really. Before this nightmarishly mysterious clip, however, we also see footage of a waitress giving them something, which may have the answers to what's happening.
Although often brushed off as collective hallucinations, there's something very real and almost otherworldly that the couple is experiencing. The most unfortunate thing about it though, is that it does get somewhat confusing, as the viewer keeps questioning what's real and what's not; not in a good way, in an irritating way. I suppose to summarize, it's basically 'The Hangover' if it were a horror movie. It's a cool concept, but it could have been executed a little more simply than just feeding us gross imagery that we're not sure is real or not. There are also heavy hints of 'The Serpent and the Rainbow' here, in the sense that these visitors to an exotic land get drugged and their whole experience is a nightmare.
While the gist of the plot remains pretty standard for a trippy horror movie, this one is for those who are after some seriously creepy imagery to knock their minds around a bit. So much of this can come from the local faces of the area this couple is staying, and it's combined pretty well with the idea of not knowing who on the island they can trust. Hell, can Christine even trust her own husband? It keeps your mind going, but again, it somewhat falls apart in the process. All in all, it's effectively scary, and it gives you that dread feeling in your gut, especially when you see some of the lengths the film goes to. If you don't wanna go there with "eye stuff" or "gut stuff", it's not a good one. There is, unfortunately, a torture porn aspect to this.
While it's not quite up there with 'Hostel', it could somewhat be compared to something like 'Saw' - of which director Darren Lynn Bousman directed parts 'II', 'III' and 'IV'. He's also responsible for 'Repo: The Genetic Opera' (a cult hit, of sorts) and one of my new favorite low budget Halloween watches - 'Tales of Halloween'. His works are curious to me, but at the end of the day, works I only need to see once and be done with them. He seems keen on those "take a shower afterwards" movies that make you feel like you were just in a terribly filthy place in your head. For something creepy, gory and straight to VOD, it's not too bad, but it caters to a specific audience as well. For me, it wasn't fun, it was just eerily confusing, and the sad part is that I can't tell if that's a good thing or not. I'm gonna say it's passable for the type of film it is. Perhaps not for me, but not a total waste either.