Tuesday 14 April 2020

On demand: "I'll Take Your Dead"

Back in the glory days of the video shop, I'll Take Your Dead would have made a perfectly decent rental on one of those weekends when the bigger titles were all out: a taut, well-sustained Canadian horror-thriller, centred on the person of a professional "cleaner", the widowed owner of a snowily remote farm paid to make the bodies racked up in gang activity disappear, no questions asked. William (Aidan Devine) retains some scruples, nevertheless: he enforces a strict no-kids rule, in part because he has a 12-year-old daughter of his own (Ava Preston), with whom he hopes to move to sunny El Paso and a better life. By the end of the first act, however, he also has a problem, in the form of a body that wasn't nearly as lifeless as his clients thought. The title suggests some jokey, tongue-in-cheek romp, yet while the film's not without its flickers of black comedy, writer Jayme Laforest and director Chad Archibald mostly play this situation (dead) straight. For much of its duration, indeed, it's practically a stageplay: a three-hander between dad, daughter and Jackie (Jess Salgueiro), the young woman who wakes up on William's chopping board to challenge his routine and become a confidante to the girl. It could do with a dash more directorial oomph in the run-up to the finale, in which the criminal element returns to this doorstep to settle accounts and William - in an echo of Straw Dogs - has to defend those he loves with assistance from unexpected sources, but it's nudged along, and finally into unexpectedly emotional territory, by very creditable performances from Devine and Preston.

I'll Take Your Dead is available to rent via Amazon Prime.

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