Tell Me How I Die Movie Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Released by Big Block Entertainment
Directed by D. J. Viola
Written by James Hibbard
2016, 107 Minutes, Not Rated
Nathan Kress as Den
Virginia Gardner as Anna
Kirby Bliss Blanton as Kristen
Ryan Higa as Scratch
Mark Furze as Marcus
Despite being an incredibly talented bartender, Anna loses her job and is struggling for money. When she is given a flyer for a medical trial, she can't turn down the $2,000 and signs up to test a new serum designed to strengthen the hippocampus and end memory loss. Unfortunately, the side effects include a screwed up perception of the space-time continuum. Believing she's seeing the future and the disaster it brings, Anna decides she and her friends at the trial need to make a run for it. But someone else who knows the future is one step ahead of her – and he doesn't want them to leave alive.
Tell Me How I Die is a fun movie, exciting and just a little gory, with some terrible CGI and a few forgivable plot holes. For example, Anna can read people as soon as they walk in the bar door. She's gorgeous and knows her drinks. You don't have trouble finding a job if you're that good. So it's unlikely that all Abercrombie model-attractive 25-year-old “college students” can only make money by going to these clinical trials. It also seems unlikely that despite a holiday and snowstorm, there would be a skeleton clinical crew – especially with no female doctors when half the patients are women. And dear God, when they get outside and are supposed to moving through the snowstorm, the effects are so terrible I feel like I'm watching the Harry Hamlin Clash of the Titans.
That being said, the rest of the movie is very watchable. It's exciting and you get to slip in and out of real time with the characters and wonder if they'll be able to escape their fate. William Mapother is delightfully cold and unbothered as head doctor Jerrems, resigning them to their deaths while he is safe and secure. It's a nice character choice while all the young pretties are resigned to the old “shy by brave guy”, “tough, sexy gambler”, “blond, slightly snobby sorority girl”, and “troubled and also blond lead” roles.
There's just enough suspense to make you wonder if one of the leads is a murderer or if there really is someone else in the secure facility. Shadowy outlines and I liked not knowing until the very end what was truly going on. However, the ending is really obnoxious. There is none. After Anna figures out what she has to do to survive, the credits roll. No resolution. Just music and a grand master shot pulling back from the medical research facility and snowcapped pines. That's not good enough; it was a daring and energizing climax that ends with a whimper. The final battle we hoped for never even happens, it's just another bend in space-time cheating us from a real resolution.
I can't give Tell Me How I Die four stars for ruining that ending, but it's unpredictable enough to merit a watch.