Vampire Owl: This looks more like one of those “death-star” experiments from Doctor Frankenstein.
Vampire Bat: Well, he doesn’t work with the humans anymore, and so this can’t be his work.
Vampire Owl: I never understand what he meant by “death-star” though. Isn’t that a Star Wars thing?
Vampire Bat: Well, he is the star and others die. That could be one of the reasons.
Vampire Owl: I certainly wish that it was the other way around.
Vampire Bat: A dead Frankenstein is surely not a good Frankenstein, especially when he returns again. So, you can stop thinking about it that way.
Vampire Owl: You mean to say that he has traveled beyond the boundaries of life already.
Vampire Bat: He has even told me how you die.
Vampire Owl: What? That is impossible. I would prove him wrong.
Vampire Bat: Which is why he mentioned only about Lady Death being involved.
[Gets three cups of self-made tea with Good Day biscuits].
What is the movie about? :: A group of youth from different parts of the state comes together at a medical facility for the drug trials, which turns out to be the easiest way to make some quick money. They get all the facilities until the trials end, but till then, they are not supposed to leave the facility or communicate through mobile phone to anyone. Anna (Virginia Gardner), a waitress looking for better options and more money also joins the team of young people at the facility. The other people participating in the experiment includes Den (Nathan Kress), Kristen (Kirby Bliss Blanton), Marcus (Mark Furze), Scratch (Ryan Higa) and others. They are told that they can choose to leave before taking the drug, but will not be allowed to leave the premises once they take the required dose. The officials confirm that this restriction is placed for their own safety because there is the possibility of some strange side-effects.
So, what happens next? :: This drug which could be unsafe, has some of the testers in doubt, but these experiments have already been done before, and people have walked out; there is also the presence of specialists, which meant that precautions were enough. So, everyone in the group decides to take the drug and enjoy the facilities provided there. Kristen and Marcus are the first two people to feel the effects of the drug, as they see the future, or rather go through it, to come back to the present again. They are confused, with their life repeating before them more than once. But they go and see those in charge, and are assured that this is quite normal and natural after taking the drugs. Only some people in the group are expected to have these effects on them, and so the two are told not to speak about this to anybody else, as they awaited more results.
And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: Anna is the next one to see the future, but this goes further as she sees each and every person among them dying a horrible death. But the result is that she is sedated and tied up so that there is no panic among the others. Meanwhile, Den, Kristen, Marcus and Scratch plans and escapes from the facility, only for Den to make them come back for the others, especially Anna, who might all die inside there if the vision Anna had indeed was about future. Their worst fear comes true as the others are killed by a stranger. Anna manages to get herself free from the restraints and they unite, except for Scratch who never got back inside. Anna keeps having visions of them being killed, and Scratch finds something which he was not supposed to find. They discover that Dr. Jerrems (William Mapother) who is in charge had locked himself inside a bunker, and the serial killer on the loose is someone who was earlier experimented on, and now he wants revenge on everyone.
The defence of Tell Me How I Die :: We have another tale of people being used for testing drugs having unexpected effects on the volunteers. The idea is expanded cleverly here, and with the interesting developments in the first half, gets our attention right where it needs to be. We are given the license to expect the terror to be unleashed in one way or the other. With its limited resources, the movie has surely done well enough, one has to admit – there is nothing that big being tried here, and we notice the same easily. Even for a movie that is not known to have that much of a budget, this one does look good – there is nothing to blame visually here. The movie also has the potential to develop its main character in such a way as to make a big serial killer out of it with a possible sequel. Kirby Bliss Blanton whom we know from The Green Inferno, and the protagonist Virginia Gardner are the pick of the cast here.
The claws of flaw :: What we feel the first time after watching this movie is that it had so much scope with its idea, and the basic thing could have been explored further. There is even a serial killer, the villain who is on rampage, and he gets his kills so easily – but the movie doesn’t bring him as a scary figure or try to make him a character whom nobody is going to forget. There could have also been a better way of seeing future, and the same could be used to bring effectiveness to the cat and mouse game between the killer and his possible victims. There is also an ending which is not that effective, and we have a certain amount of confusion about how things turn out in the end. We demand more, without doubt, especially after everything is set up nicely with a sequence of events – we ask for scares, and big twists which can turn things upside down as the core is revealed, but the choice taken here is not to do anything special and just go on, which is rather surprising.
How it finishes :: There has been many experiments which have been the theme of movies like Ex Machina and Morgan, but both those movies were about creating something new, while this one is focused on enhancing human abilities. Once again, we have people trying do the strange and the unpredictable in the name of science, crossing some areas which were not supposed to be crossed. Tell Me How I Die is going to be just another one of those stories which will have our attention, and keep going through the same. It will be an interesting choice for some time-pass, and maybe it will have us watching more of similar movies again. After all, the world is never really that short of such ideas. There are always smaller movies which tries to get through with an interesting idea – you can surely add this one to that list of movies which try to do more with what it got.
Release date: 2nd September 2016
Running time: 107 minutes
Directed by: D.J. Viola
Starring: Virginia Gardner, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Nathan Kress, Ryan Higa, Mark Furze, Ethan Peck, William Mapother, Marnie Alexenburg, Mark Rolston, Katie Booth, Christopher Allen, Shaun Brown, Julia Ling, Daisun Cohn-Williams, Barry Habib
@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.