Blu-ray Review: Death of Me

Stars of suitably creepy, but sadly veers into confusion.

By , Contributor
In Lionsgate's psychological horror/thriller Death of Me (now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital), Maggie Q stars as Christine, a woman experiencing a vacation from hell. She's in Thailand (I think, it's never definitively established) with husband Neil (Luke Hemsworth, third most-famous of the Hemsworth brothers). What's so bad about this trip to a foreign land? They're both wickedly hungover, enough so that neither can remember the events of the night before. Though scheduled to depart for home that morning, their luggage is onboard a boat en route to the airport... but they're not. Effectively stranded without possessions or effective means to communicate with pertinent parties, serious inconvenience looms large.

Oh, and they also find video footage in which Neil appears to strangle Christine and bury her body. Though Christine appears to be alive and (relatively) well, the footage remains disturbingly convincing. The whole premise feels a bit like The Hangover crossed with an M. Night Shyamalan movie. Neil and Christine accost locals, frantically attempting to piece together the previous night's events. Little by little, it becomes apparent that Christine has in fact suffered trauma consistent with the videotaped strangling and burying.

What starts off as satisfyingly creepy and doom-laden eventually becomes confusing and muddled. The more Christine and Neil learn about what may or may not have occurred, the less sense the story makes. The fear of "others" (in this case, Asians) as depicted here veers uncomfortably close to racially bigoted tropes. Maggie Q's heritage (her mother is Vietnamese) shouldn't be considered any justification for this unbecoming broadside. The story centers on two Americans who are increasingly besieged by rather generically-conceived South Pacific islanders, all of whom appear to be mired in some form of "black magic" or witchcraft.

The making-of featurette included here explains that the original screenplay was set in Haiti, with the natives practicing "voodoo." This revealing bit of info outs the filmmakers as being more than a bit culturally insensitive—apparently their chosen location was interchangeable with just about any place in which indigenous people could be portrayed as an inscrutable menace to Western tourists.

Setting that aside to look at the plus side, Maggie Q delivers an effectively bewildered performance. But the filmmakers have, in their quest for inventiveness, ended up settling for incoherence. Despite early potential for some disorienting thrills, Death of Me misses the mark.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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