Six people are locked in a room with a psycho killer. Yeah… I know we’ve done this before but we’re doing it again and we are going to deal with it. We do get to spend some time with these six people before they show up in the locked room of unknown location before the mayhem starts. There’s Murdock (Elias Koteas), a police officer who has done something really wrong and will pay the price for his crime the next day. There’s Lisa (Emily Hampshire), a gambling addict who has just squandered the last of what little money her family had. We have Melody (Katie Boland) a young strung out prostitute who has just gotten through servicing Robert (Fabio Fulco) who gives young, strung out prostitutes a really hard way to go. We also have Zach (Karl Pruner), a psychiatrist who is under investigation and finally there’s Diane (Patricia McKenzie), a pretty nurse who seems to be the least likely person to be in this crew of damaged people. The name of the movie is ‘Die’. Double entendre? You bet. Because if the die that is rolled doesn’t come up your way… you will probably die.
How the majority of these people found their way to this odd underground facility, behind the glass walls of a prison, is never really explained to us, and it would’ve been nice if it had been explained to us, but here they are. The game, as designed by the psycho running this operation, who goes by the name Jason (John Pyper-Ferguson), is a simple one. One captive rolls the die to determine the fate of another captive who is strapped to the chair. For instance the guy who is hard on prostitutes is strapped to a chair while the depressed cop opens the case. Inside the case is a die, a revolver and six bullets. The cop has to roll the die and if he rolls a one, then one bullet goes into the gun which obviously equates to a good chance for Robert to live. If he rolls a six then obviously that equates to no chance for Robert to live. We can’t tell you what the cop rolls because that would ruin everything for you, but that’s how it goes, though the game changes from victim to victim, but the chances are always one through six.
While this insanity is going on somewhere in this city, I think it’s somewhere in Canada, on the outside investigating is hard working Italian transplant cop Sofia Valenti as played by former Bond Girl Caterina Munro, and Sofia is arguably the hottest beat
cop on the planet earth. They tried to formulate some kind of explanation why this Italian woman was a detective on the Canadian police force, but clearly Ms. Munro’s accent was too thick to mask and she’s way too hot NOT to put in the movie so they just worked in some story about her father’s death being similar to what’s going on in the underground and set her loose. We’re not mad at them. Anyway, Detective Valenti was the former partner of the dirty cop which is why she was on top of things when he turned up missing, and with just a little investigation she has discovered the other missing victims and a connection. Her boss (Frank Schorpion) thinks she’s just wasting valuable time, but Valenti soldiers on. For her dad.
Why were these people chosen? We can’t tell you that. Why is Jacob potentially having these people kill each other in different ways? We can’t tell you that either. Did we here at the FCU enjoy sitting through ‘Die’? That we can tell you… just wait for it.
The challenge for director Dominic James with his movie ‘Die’ is to take the concept of people locked in a room, clearly something that has been done ad infinitum in recent cinematic memory, and make it a different in someway, and hopefully make it better than those other movies. I think I can say he has made it different for the most part, but I don’t think I can say he has made it better.
There are some good things in this film starting with the atmosphere in this movie. Great pains were obviously taken create a certain look, glossy in some parts, gloomy and depressing in other areas and it works to effectively create certain moods. The acting performances were also solid, Elias Koteas being the biggest name in the film and he gets the privilege of having his name above the title, but this is more Emily Hampshire’s film than anybody’s and we’ve been an admirer of Ms. Hampshire ever since we saw her in the film ‘Snow Cake’ and she doesn’t disappoint here as the suicidal gambling addict Lisa. The majority of the performances were good, particularly Patricia McKenzie and Karl Pruner of note, though I’m too sure about the hot Italian detective if only because of the hoops we had to jump through to justify her character being in this movie.
The shortfall of ‘Die’, as it is in most movies with promise that come up short, is in the execution of the story. Not nearly enough time was setup giving the audience an explanation how the characters got from point A to point B, how does Jacob find these people he subjects to his little torture games, and there doesn’t appear to be much consistency in the way he chooses these people regardless. Then it is difficult to find the time to develop that part of the story when we have essentially eight main characters to concern ourselves with, all of whom are a little light on development as well. Elements of the story get introduced which look like they might be relevant and then are discarded, and by the time the movie ended almost everything was in complete chaos.
‘Die’ wasn’t terrible by any means… we’ve seen terrible and this wasn’t close to that, but this was one of those films that looked like it could’ve used a little fine tuning. Great look, good performances, shaky on the story. Story, story, story is what they keep telling me.