EVERY TIME I DIE (2019)
Starring Drew Fonteiro, Marc Menchaca, Michelle Macedo, Tyler Dash White, Melissa Macedo, Kenneth Moronta, Frankie Hinton, Paul Megna, Lia Johnson, Andrea Leigh, Erica Camarano, Eleah Burman, Sara Harman, Kevin D. Benton, Nikee Warren, Alison Linkov and Maera Daniel Hagage.
Screenplay by Gal Katzir & Robi Michael.
Directed by Robi Michael.
Distributed by Gravitas Ventures. 98 minutes. Not Rated.
One of the nice things about writing about films is that sometimes you asked to watch little films which may have slipped past you otherwise. Granted, there are reasons why many of those films are wallowing in obscurity. However, sometimes you find a diamond in the rough, a little-hyped passion project that is better than you had any right to expect.
The psychological thriller Every Time I Die is one of those films. It’s not a perfect movie – and to a certain extent its concept makes little or no sense – but it is a taut, smart, suspenseful story. Suspend your disbelief a bit and it’s a pretty wild ride.
Every Time I Die tells the story of Sam (Drew Fonteiro), an emotionally disturbed ambulance EMT tech who has been having a series of blackouts which seem to have something to do with a repressed childhood memory of watching his younger sister die. His life has become a mess, he is cut-off and only lives for work. His very few friends, the closest of which is his work partner Jay (Marc Menchaca), and he has fallen into an awkward affair with Mia (Melissa Macedo), the married identical twin of Jay’s wife Poppy (Michelle Macedo).
Jay talks Sam into going on a lake house getaway with him and Poppy and Mia and her husband Ty (Tyler Dash White), which Sam recognizes is a very bad idea. And it turns out worse than he imagined. He has too much to drink. The blackouts and memories come more strongly. The tension with Mia is ratcheted up. And Ty seems to be watching everything he does very carefully.
And then, as if the weekend wasn’t going badly enough, Sam gets killed.
When Sam is murdered, his spirit somehow travels into the minds and bodies of his friends, one by one, trying to protect them from the killer. (The actual cause of this strange phenomenon is never explored or explained – you’re either going to buy into the concept or not.)
As Sam’s soul (and mind) flits from one friend to another, more and more of his childhood mystery comes clear to him, though I suppose it is too late for him to do anything about it now.
In the meantime, the killer, coming to realize that Sam is somehow living on inside his friends, ramps up the body count, symbolically and in a very real way, killing Sam over and over again – and at the same time killing the vessel bodies that he finds himself inside.
Like I said earlier, it’s a slightly offbeat high concept for a film. And you’re either going to go for it or not. I mostly did. While I see the holes in the story, I was willing to overlook them and go with the flow. As such, Every Time I Die was an interesting and well-acted chiller which I could see getting a cult following.
I could also see certain audiences totally rejecting the basic ambiguity of the central premise, and they wouldn’t be completely wrong, either.
Every Time I Die may not be for everyone, but I have a feeling that the many of people who do give it a chance will become passionate defenders of the film.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2019 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 9, 2019.