Film Review: I’ll Take Your Dead (Toronto After Dark Film Festival)
October is a busy and exciting month for horror fans as the Halloween month is always full of film festivals for those of us with a desire to be terrified. Coming to a close this week is Canadian horror, action, sci-fi film fest TORONTO AFTER DARK. The festival opened on the night of the 11th with 2018’s I’LL TAKE YOUR DEAD.
Single dad William AKA ‘The Candy Butcher” is in business of making dead bodies disappear. Despite his gruesome work, he tries to live the quiet life on a remote property with his 12 year old daughter Gloria. When one of the bodies dropped off at their house is still alive, William is forced to test his values. Things get personal as Gloria starts to see a mother figure in their captive, Jackie.
I’LL TAKE YOUR DEAD is elevated to supernatural thriller when it is revealed that Gloria can see the ghosts of those who end up in her father’s basement. The film draws inspiration obviously from THE SIXTH SENSE and both child protagonists are similarly likeable and precocious. However while THE SIXTH SENSE has probably the most famous of plot twists ever to be twisted, I’LL TAKE YOUR DEAD is straightforward to the point of predictability.
Its strength then lies in its great performances all round. The film benefits from a diverse and competent cast. Ava Preston steals the show as Gloria, whom she portrays as strong and vulnerable at the same time and never comes off whiny or annoying. It is clear Gloria is the one the film revolves around and therefore Preston brings life not only to the character but the whole film. It is always so satisfying when filmmakers take a chance with child actors and it pays off, I would watch out for Preston’s next role if I were you.
Also carrying the film along is Aidan Devine as William. A badass dad even though the character comes across as clichéd at times (I really doubt most dads are that embarrassed by their child’s first period, it’s stereotypical and I saw the plot point coming a mile away). Jess Salgueiro also deserves a mention as Jackie, who although is tied up for much of the film, is a well rounded female character with her own agency.
I really just need to mention something else: Chad Archibald has pulled a complete one-eighty with this film. His previous entries into the genre are schlocky, poorly acted attempts which serve better as a showcase of gruesome practical effects (I will admit they are great effects). His 2015 film BITE is riddled with terribly delivered lines and shallow characters and his other films are much the same. This is why I’m so delightfully surprised by I’LL TAKE YOU DEAD which is, when you look at all the elements coming together, a really excellent film. I can’t fault the acting nor the filming and cinematography. A great mix of practical and CGI effects is another thing that is pulled off well.
An extremely accessible film for those who aren’t seasoned horror fans, I’LL TAKE YOUR DEAD is great for those of us who love a good crime thriller but find most horror films not their cup of tea. The supernatural elements aren’t the main focus of the film, in fact they are there just enough so that he film can be classified as horror. To be honest if the ghosts were removed from the film we are left with a decent drama.
“I’LL TAKE YOUR DEAD is great for those of us who love a good crime thriller”
3 Tombstones out of 5…