Brady Hall writes and directs Burn It All, a thematically realized thriller with engagingly brisk action. The film opens with Alex (Elizabeth Cotter), a gravely depressed woman about to commit suicide. But she is interrupted by a phone call relaying tragedy, as Alex’s mother has passed away. While estranged, Alex loved her mother, and she delays her plans for suicide and makes a trip to pick up her mother’s corpse.
Upon returning to her hometown, Alex visits her childhood house to revisit the past. However, unsettling memories resurface as ex-boyfriend Travis (Ryan Postell) shows his face. Resentful of Travis’s overripe apologies for his past actions, Alex stays on task and drives to the funeral home to recover her deceased mother. But the funeral home is closed, and in the midst of confronting two men — one of whom she recognizes — Alex is choked out for asking too many questions about the body in the back of their car.
“…Alex escapes her captors and interferes with the operations of an organ smuggling ring…”
She wakes up in a barn and is threatened by a man with a gun. However, Alex escapes her captors and interferes with the operations of an organ smuggling ring seemingly led by Bishop (Greg Michaels) and King (John Branch). When Alex learns that her mother’s corpse is being used to harvest organs for affluent clients, she does whatever she can to retrieve her mother, and in doing so, she threatens their byzantine network.
In this unabashedly aggressive feminist thriller, Cotter plays a dejected and exhausted woman who defies the misogyny and barbarity of men who underestimate her. Cotter is a relentlessly fierce presence, assuming the doggedness and versatility required for persuasive hand-to-hand combat. She is also flinty and vulnerable all at once, supplying Alex with some genuine complexity. Without her considered collection of leers and snarls, Alex wouldn’t be nearly as captivating as a protagonist.
"…wholly embraces its themes of body autonomy and familial redemption..."