I'll Take Your Dead (2018) Movie Review
Chad Archibald and Jayme Laforest
Normally when I start a review, I like to find some way to personalize it so the viewer (you) can feel that he/she/other is reading something from an actual person rather than one of those top-secret review bots bred and engineered by a massive tech company and sponsored by a major search engine.
Me? I’m not a bot. I’m a complete and whole human being person with thoughts and feelings and shiny metallic skin. I meant, human skin and bones.
I’m a human. Really.
Anyway the reason I bring this up is because I’ll Take Your Dead involves the dismembering and burning of human bodies and I know absolutely nothing about that and have never done it before. Even on a dare at church camp or at a Halloween party at the Mickelson household back in 2016.
See. Look at how personable and human being like I am. No one would suspect a thing. You would just continue on to this movie film review written by a totally human person being.
Here’s the review.
I’ll Take Your Dead opens with a voice-over that’s not even close to being creepy.
It’s from a little girl by the name of Gloria (Ava Preston). She says that not all of this story will end happily. Thanks for the spoiler alert there, Gloria.
Gloria also says that she can see dead people. She has a 7th sense about it.
The film opens again to a time before Gloria’s cheery voice-over. We’re on a farm run by an average everyday farmer named William (Aidan Devine, looking and sounding like JK Simmons’ older brother). He has an intense little girl named Gloria (Ava Preston, looking and sounding like the little girl from the previous paragraph).
There doesn’t seem to be a mom in the picture. You might be wondering why.
William is also known in the criminal underworld as the Candy Butcher. As far as sinister nicknames go, you could do much worse. Like the Candy Striper or the Taffy Butcher. Those just aren’t attention grabbing.
Please wait as I get myself some taffy. Here’s a poll to keep you entertained.
Would you like me to save you some taffy?
Thanks for waiting. That was some tasty taffy.
Why do they call him the Candy Butcher? Because he’s been known in certain unsavory circles to get rid of dead bodies so they no longer exist. He owns hazmat suits, multiple carving implements, and a large tub filled with strong acidic liquids. His Netflix list is Stranger Things and New Ways to Cut Up Bodies.
If you want a body dismembered, boiled, and disappeared, just call the Candy Butcher. It’s like taking candy from the body of a baby. William doesn’t exactly have it on business cards, but the word of his work gets around quickly. Over the years he’s gotten quite a lot of money and is saving up so he and Gloria can move and be rid of this lifestyle.
Gloria has seen more than her share of dead bodies. She’s also seen more than her share of the spirits of said dead bodies but it’s not something she can tell her father.
We’re sure it’ll all work out and are rooting for the Candy Butcher and his ghost-seeing little girl.
On this frosty morning, an SUV pulls up to the Candy Butcher’s farm.
3 sketchy looking men are looking to dump a trio of dead bodies (2 males, 1 female) for the Candy Butcher to work his magic on. One of the men has a face tattoo with the word “evil” on it. He’s probably not going to a job interview anytime soon.
The Butcher has seen this all before. With one exception. There seems to be a teenage boy among the dead. The Butcher has a rule about taking kids. He won’t do it and they’ll have to drop the bodies off somewhere else.
Face Tattoo says the bodies will be dropped off. Whether the money will be is another issue. Besides, it might be best to do it for the little girl. Hint, hint.
What’s a dad to do? The Butcher will now break his rule about not taking in dead kids.
William takes the money, takes the bodies, and goes about his business.
Gloria knows her part to play. She just doesn’t want to go to the basement where her dad does the bulk of his work. She’s seen things down there that most humans can’t see. Undead things. She has an 8th sense about it.
Because the male corpses have more mass than the female, William takes care of them first.
When he goes to dispose of the woman’s body, William realizes that she’s still alive.
That sucks. William wanted to try this new acidic compound in a citrus flavor and now he’s not going to be able to.
As you know, any movie that involves the chopping and flaying of dead bodies is bound to have a happy ending. We’ll just expect the best for William and Gloria.
What Works With I'll Take Your Dead
- Ava Preston’s performance as Gloria showcases her supernatural(!) talent while never making her seem like less than a little girl. She allows moments of vulnerability in a movie filled with appropriately amped-up scenes. She sees dead people. You see a future star in the making.
- The basement- though it’s not shown very much, the basement itself should get its own movie. It has enough of a lived-in quality to convey the Candy Butcher has been doing this for a while. Credit to production designer Vincent Moskowec for tiny details that enable the viewer to take notes on what you’d need in order to do what the Butcher does
What? I didn’t take notes or print out stills.
- A bloody climax that’s a master class in tone and pacing from director Chad Archibald. You go through the film expecting more of a slow burn. But it’s not as slow as you were expecting and burn is a lot…hotter.
Sorry about that awkward fire metaphor. You know what I’m trying to say.
This only proves that I’m a human being because only a blood-and-flesh human person would make such a mistake.
What Doesn't Work With I'll Take Your Dead
- As stated, the movie is more deliberate than you’d expect from the first 10 minutes. Those of you expecting ghosts-a-popping every other scene will be sorely disappointed. The monsters in this movie are all too real, except when they aren’t.
I’ll Take Your Dead is a somber, gut-wrenching surprise that comes highly recommended. You’ll want to see it with your friends that are not dead.