Once again written, directed and produced by Chad Archibald, I’ll Take Your Dead is quite a departure from the gory body-horror and the over-the-top possession movies they previously made. In fact, this Canadian film is a slow-burn drama wrapped around a horror-related core that stands out against everything else they have made and distributed in the past.
I’ll Take Your Dead will be available on VOD in the US on May 3rd and in Canada at the end of June/beginning of July, after being premiered at a few festivals last year. You can also check the Black Fawn Films and Shout Factory website for updates on the release date.
This time, the story follows William (Aidan Devine), a guy with a simple job: he receives corpses of people killed by a local gang and makes the dead bodies disappear for money. His daughter Gloria (Ava Preston) is convinced the spirits of those men haunt their house, but William doesn’t believe her. One day, the body of a woman is dumped at their place and, as soon as William is about to dispose of it, it’s revealed that the woman (Jesse Salguero) is still alive. When the gang finds it out, things get out of hand very quickly…
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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My review is also available on IMDb – I’ll Take Your Dead (2018)
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As I just mentioned, I’ll Take Your Dead is a slow-burner and it strongly relies on the performances, which thankfully are quite solid all-around. Aidan Devine, who’s the focal character in the film, is undoubtedly the glue that holds the story together with his calmly desperate mannerism and acting. The other show-stealer, for me, is the gang leader played by Ari Miller who gives a fantastic performance as a Joker-esque psychotic druggy.
Yet, the story itself unfolds nicely through even pacing and the presence of flashbacks that are never spoon-fed to the audience with, say, title cards and the dialogues, albeit long-winded at times, are never used for cheap exposition; instead, they develop the three main characters ‘trapped’ in the house making them either sympathetic or multi-layered.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the production values of I’ll Take Your Dead. Although I really liked Bite, The Heretics and Let Her Out (with the latest being on my favourite horror movies of 2017 list), I always considered the production values of Black Fawn movies somewhat lacking and flawed, whereas I’ll Take Your Dead makes a huge leap in terms of quality. The cinematography, just like in Let Her Out, is crisp and sombre, backed up by the great use of lighting and a somewhat dark colour palette.
Furthermore, for fans of more traditional scary movies, this film features a couple of effective jump-scares and an overall creepy vibe that will most likely please most horror fans. Yet, the practical effects – although not as prominent as in the other movies directed by Chad Archibald – are very well-done and convincing. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the CGI, which fully shows the low-budget this movie was made on.
As for the other flaws with I’ll Take Your Dead, I really didn’t like the score, which sounded very cheesy. Let Her Out, for example, had an incredibly eerie, almost disturbing sound design that, unfortunately, I didn’t remotely find here. Also, some of the acting by minor characters was a bit wooden and conventional with, as I hinted at before, a few dialogue-driven scenes being a little dull and not very interesting.
Overall, though, I have to appreciate the efforts of this production company and Chad Archibald in trying different sub-genres, different approaches with every single film they make. Although I could watch movies like Bite (their most successful film so far) and Let Her Out without getting tired, I was pleasantly surprised by the somewhat delicate and more profound approach of I’ll Take Your Dead, a film you shouldn’t miss out when it hits VOD.
I’ll Take Your Dead 7/10
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