The second feature of Toronto After Dark’s opening night is the Toronto premiere of the Canadian film, I’ll Take Your Dead. The film stars Ava Preston, Aidan Devine, Jess Salgueiro, Brandon McKnight and Ari Millen. A crime thriller with supernatural overtones, the film has some gorgeous production, and features a fantastic turn by the film’s young lead, Preston.
Young Gloria (Preston) lives with her father, William (Devine) in a remote farmhouse, and it’s there that he makes his living. A living he has been forced into, but is so close to be doing with it. He disposes of bodies for criminals, he’s known by a variety of non-complimentary names, like the Candy Butcher, but he gets the jobs done, and the criminals stay out of jail.
In a way, however, Gloria is paying for her father’s sins. He may be a good man, but he is doing bad things, and while he may not see the impact of them around their house, she does… Gloria sees dead people. Specifically, the dead people that her father has taken care of for cash.
When Reggie (Millen) arrives with a trio of bodies for William to take care of, he is hesitant to take the job on, but is given no choice. Things go from bad to worse, when it’s learned that one of the victims, Jackie (Salguiero) is still alive.
There is a coming of age story woven into the fabric of the film as Jackie helps guide Gloria into her womanhood, and she learns to confront the ghosts that share their home. But it will all go awry when Carter (McKnight), Jackie’s boyfriend, learns she is still alive.
The crime thriller side of the film works great, as does the family drama that develops throughout the film. On occasion the supernatural side feels like it’s shoehorned in, but young Preston’s performance lets you take that in stride. Watch out for this actor!
The makeup effects by Shaun Hunter are top notch as we see in the opening sequence when William carves up the first body.
The film comes to a tense, and inescapable climax, and while some of the supernatural stuff feels like it’s squeezed in, it mostly works. The idea, from what I gathered is that the bad, and those close to death, see these ghosts, with the exception being Gloria, who, as I said, I feel is paying for her father’s sins.
It’s a stark, well shot film, the exterior locations are fantastic, and the cast is in top form. Check this one, and the spooky short that accompanies it, Deliverance from director Philippe Bousier tonight at 9:30! Get your tickets for that show and others here.