I’ll Take Your Dead is a relatively simple little film. A father/daughter tale of morality that acts as a crime drama above all else, the film often feels as stoic as its protagonist, while also incorporating pleasantly unexpected supernatural elements.
Made utterly worthwhile by a particularly impressive performance from Ava Preston (Shazam!) as the daughter, Gloria, I’ll Take Your Dead tells the story of William (Aidan Devine). Their rural home has become a dumping ground for dead bodies, with Gloria convinced that some are haunting the house.
The central question to this film is if William is a good man. He disposes of murder victims for a living but all so he can eventually take his daughter and leave this life behind. Everything he does is done for Gloria and this is constantly brought up in the film itself. Where the story comes into play is with Jackie (Jess Salgueiro), a “victim” who turns out to still be alive.
As a steady relationship is built between Jackie and Gloria, we become treated to plenty of rather sweet scenes. The three characters are so different from one another yet their relationships feel very genuine. While Jackie is at first reluctant of William due to the rumours of him she has heard, she comes to learn that he does all this for the sake of his daughter.
I’ll Take Your Dead is really held together by its relationships and its satisfaction in often seeming like a heartfelt family drama. However, with the supernatural element of the spirits that haunt the home, a certain quiet intensity and occasional terror is brought to some scenes. Preston’s performance really helps to create believability within the film and especially during her more dramatic scenes, she proves to be a child actor that should be on everyone’s radar.
While I’ll Take Your Dead cannot be considered a “slow-burn” film, it certainly enjoys being a patient one. It takes time to let us learn about the three main characters as individuals and in particular about William’s love for his daughter. This is what makes the morality question that much more interesting to dwell upon once the film is over. If we didn’t care about these characters, then we wouldn’t think twice if he was a good or bad person.
The film impresses in making you believe that humans are always a little bit of both. After all, that’s what makes us human.
Director Chad Archibald (The Heretics) has created an intriguing blend of family drama, crime film and supernatural horror with the pace, patience and payoff of a western. I’ll Take Your Dead was not the strongest film of Grimmfest 2018, but certainly felt like one of the most accessible and is more than worth seeking out!