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Review: ‘Death of Me,’ Directed by ‘Saw’s Darren Lynn Bousman is Beautiful and Terrifying

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Review: 'Death of Me,' Directed by 'Saw's Darren Lynn Bousman is Beautiful and Terrifying

Death of Me, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, is a thoughtful horror film. Written by Ari Margolis, James Morley III, and David Tish, it stars Maggie Q (Christine) and Luke Hemsworth (Neil) as an American couple in over their heads. It’s built around a great premise.

The couple vacationing in Thailand visit a bar and have a few too many drinks. They discover a supernatural video later of themselves where Neil murders Christine after engaging in sex. He chokes her to death. They don’t remember filming it, but it looks like them. It’s a mystery. Is it a troll video created by an editing genius? A sex tape that kills you from beyond? Doppelgangers? Or is it...them?

Christine, the central character, is determined to figure out the video’s nature. She’s not dead, she’s alive even though she watched a video of herself murdered. Things get worse when they discover that they’ve lost their passports, trapping them in Thailand. This sucks. Imagine if someone hacked paranormal doppelganger sex clips of you, and you were stuck in a country and didn’t know if you were alive or dead or in reality tv sex limbo.

Death of Me plays on the American tourists’ fear of losing a passport and being without money or credit cards on a different continent. I traveled alone in Europe, and I worried about losing my wallet and phone constantly. The film also plays on the fear of having too much fun at a bar leading to disastrous results in the morning. Did you lose your banking card? Or possibly go home with someone that you shouldn’t have?

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As the story digs deeper into the mystery, Christine finds herself mixed up in a cult or a conspiracy of sorts. Things get weirder. I couldn’t help but think that the film’s central theme is how annoying and entitled American tourists are. Although Christine and Neil are well-mannered and likable (many tourists aren’t), it seems as if the entire island bends against them. Let that be a lesson to boorish Americans.

Another theme in Death of Me is pornography. The subtext is buried in the script and viewed through the genre’s lens: It’s about a couple having their sex tapes released and the horror of being exposed. The video in Death of Me is brutal. Or a metaphor for a couple exploring sexuality in a consensual manner. The experience is heightened to murder in the film to play on our fears of sex play going too far. Interestingly, the end of the film toys with the concept of consent as well, since Christine is drugged with lingering effects.

But ultimately Death of Me is about Death. The title of the film is, after all, “Death of Me.” Maggie goes through a bizarre experience initiated by sex. Death may be at the other end of it. Or something else entirely. Death of Me is creepy, and for a good reason, it pokes at things that scare us subconsciously: Sex and Death.

Maggie Q does a fantastic job as a victim of circumstance but a person with grit who meets conflict head-on. And Death of Me has gorgeous cinematography. There are beautiful shots of beaches, canals, a festival, folk art masks, a green-toned bathroom, and boats. I grew up on boats in working-class Florida, so I love boat cinematography.

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Darren Lynn Bousman is a horror wunderkind, someone whose work we all look forward to watching. He’s a writer, director, immersive theater creator, and he directs horror musicals — he’s always creating. His films have become more thoughtful and women-centric over the years with St. Agatha and Death of Me. I love his early Saw films, Saw II, III, and IV and soon IX. They’re filled with original interactive horror art pieces created to terrify the audience.

Death of Me will be released on October 2nd. And get ready for the ninth installation of SawSpiral: From the Book of Saw, directed by Bousman, starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson opens on May 21st, 2021.

Spiral from the Book of Saw Art

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