To Your Last Death is the latest effort from Coverage Ink Films. With a star-studded cast, this 2D animated production is a must-see for fans looking for a gory, good time.
To Your Last Death is an original work that manages to incorporate familiar horror tropes into a distinctly unique story. For those of you that enjoy the animation of Archer, the Saw franchise and The Twilight Zone, then this is the movie for you.
If you are expecting a linear timeline, you will be disappointed. However, if you enjoy unpredictable twists and turns then by all means, seek this tale out. It is worth it.
A bit of a warning, if you are uncomfortable with violence and gore, although it is presented in a graphic novel style, it is still, nonetheless, a hardcore chiller. Make no mistake about it and boy does it deliver.
We are introduced to the DeKalb family, fractured, broken and deadly in its dysfunction. Miriam is perhaps the biggest casualty. After suffering a lifetime of mental and implied physical abuse, she is taking pills to cope with the aftermath.
A warrior spirit who fights for social causes, she finds that her life’s work may be in jeopardy when the funding is pulled from her philanthropic organization, Peace and Nonviolence Action Committee or PANAC. With her life crumbling around her, she receives an invitation to join her siblings at her father’s titan of industry headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
Wary at the prospect of seeing her mean-spirited and unforgiving father again (who hasn’t gotten over his children thwarting his Vice Presidential bid for the White House) and not looking forward to reuniting with her estranged brothers and sisters, she decides to reluctantly attend the “reunion.” To her dismay, this isn’t a “bury the hatchet” kind of gathering. Instead, it is all about surviving her father’s twisted and sadistic games of revenge.
Which leads us into our top 3 reasons why To Your Last Death is gory, good fun…
3. The Storyline
In a world of remakes and reboots, it is so refreshing to get a truly original piece of work. Screenwriters Jim Cirile and Tanya C. Klein hit the ground running from the very first scene of the film. The storyline is relentless but definitely compelling to watch.
Combining all the best elements of Saw, The Matrix and The Twilight Zone, viewers will definitely have tropes that are identifiable but not predictable. The idea of being plugged into a huge virtual game is not a new one. In fact, string theorists hypothesize quite regularly on the subject.
To Your Last Death taps into that gamer sensibility by giving the lead character of Miriam DeKalb multiple chances to alter her reality through time travel. This ability is provided to her by a mysterious otherwordly entity and interstellar bookie only known as the Gamemaster.
The way that Miriam is able to travel back in time is quite inventive. It is easy to get lost in her attempts to save her family and it is also frustrating to have the rug pulled out from underneath her just when she is about to “win” the simulation.
However, the constant rule changes are what keeps this movie riveting from beginning to end. Plus, you can’t watch it mindlessly. You definitely have to engage.
2. Dark Directing
Jason Axinn has done a masterful job of guiding this production. In the hands of someone less experienced, the plot could easily become disjointed. However, he keeps everything on point.
Directing an animated 2D feature isn’t an easy job. In fact, it may be rather challenging because you are dealing with in some cases, not having all of your actors together at one time like you do on a live action film set. Plus, you are dealing with storyboards, art direction, scripting, creating models and well, you get the idea.
When you are watching To Your Last Death, you forget that it is an animated effort because you are busy focusing on the characters. Axinn does a very good job of letting them drive the storyline. Some directors are very heavy handed and force the action. He lets it happen, he choreographs it.
The end result is a bona fide horror film that could go toe to toe with any James Wan production. He is just that talented.
1. Actors That Bring Their A-Game
Can we talk about this cast? To Your Last Death is like a who’s who of genre superstars. Right away, in the opening sequence of the film, we hear the easily recognizable voice of veteran actor, William Shatner. His unique inflections and his emphasis on certain words definitely gives his character of The Overseer a distinct, Rod Serling vibe inviting us into the action at hand.
Ray Wise is beyond compare as the malevolent patriarch, Cyrus DeKalb. His sadistic titan of industry is like his most beloved Twin Peaks character, Leland Palmer on steroids. The actor intuitively knows how to play men that are morally questionable. It is his trademark.
Yes, he is also like Tobin Bell’s John Kramer/Jigsaw, judge, jury and executioner. Doling out what he considers to be justice for the humiliation he endured having his high-profile bid for the Vice Presidency thwarted by his own children. Wise clearly relishes this role and is horrifyingly delightful.
Morena Baccarin gives a stellar performance as the Gamemaster. She is a strong woman who holds the fate of Miriam and her family in her hands. This lady means business and won’t be trifled with. When she tells you to run, you say how fast?
Gamemaster takes no prisoners and delivers satisfaction to her cosmic players on every level. Giving “good customer service” to her clients when they want to introduce more challenging dilemmas and scenarios into Miriam’s personal hellscape.
Bill Moseley may not be onscreen for a lengthy time but he makes the most of it as Pavel. One of Cyrus’ henchmen, he is colorfully creepy delivering a perfect one liner about his beloved’s eyes that will make you laugh and cringe in horror at the same time.
Finally, Dani Lennon as Miriam grabs us by our collective hearts and pulls us into her saga. We question reality with her and suffer when she tries desperately to save her siblings. Lennon definitely doesn’t phone it in.
From the start of the film until the very end, she is the heart and soul of To Your Last Death. Expect to see and hear more of her in the future.
To Your Last Death will be premiering in the U.S. at the Big Apple Film Festival. You can catch the film at the Cinepolis Theater 9 on Wed. Aug. 28 at 9 p.m.
What did you think of the teaser? Will you be seeing To Your Last Death? Let us know in the comments.