Death of Me has a somewhat familiar but always intriguing premise. Neil (Luke Hemsworth) and Christine (Maggie Q) are vacationing on an island. One day, the two wake up with no memory of what happened the previous night. After finding Neil’s cell phone, they find footage of Neil murdering Christine. The questions are evident. What is going on and why did it happen?
Narratively, a lot has to happen for the audience to accept this plot. Death of Me will have to go into the relationship between Christine and Neil. Have they been having problems or is the footage a complete mystery? If there have been issues, why would she continue to stick around after the video? If not, she should have a lot of questions regarding his feelings towards her.
The rationale for the two remaining together is a horror movie trope. They simply were running late and missed the ferry to get off the island. There is nothing wrong with this. It is a pretty standard plot device. What is surprising is that Christine and Neil do not discuss a deeper reason as to why the footage may exist. They are more concerned with the mystery of it being around at all. There is some initial talk, but once the two try to figure out what has happened, Death of Me seems to say there is nothing wrong between the two.
This is where the plot begins to lose its way. The premise is a great opening for a look at a relationship on the rocks. If nothing else, there may be an interesting story in there about how people take modern technology for granted. Anything can be recorded without putting any thought into it. Instead, it is little more than another plot device. There is no deeper exploration of anything.
This leads to a standard thriller involving black magic, rituals, and hallucinations. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Many horror movies forgo story and character development in lieu of scares. Death of Me uses many of the tricks associated with the genre. There is a heavy sense of suspicion thanks to the camerawork. The setting is perfect for jump scares, yet the film never goes in that direction, letting the terror develop naturally. This is a great decision and even plays into one of the film’s themes.
Death of Me is an odd psychological thriller. Initially, it seems like it has a deep story to tell about either relationships or the reliance on technology. When it does not go into either of those directions, it looks like it may be a standard scary movie. There is more of that, but in the end it seems content to be a random series of cliches.