That all being said, I can forgive director Jason Axinn for all of it. Despite its shortcomings To Your Last Death wows with a clever script and remarkable vocal performances. Our heroine, Miriam, is completely out of her depth. She has no special training or natural skills but has to rise to the occasion in order to survive. She is written and played as a very real person who doesn’t do everything right, who makes mistakes, and who panics. And because of that level of realism, it gives her occasional triumphs so much more impact.
“…the Deklab family starts to pull together and act in a rational and logical fashion…
But there are also the self-aware aspects of To Your Last Death. Usually, I hate it when a filmmaker feels the need to comment on a story, but Axinn and the writers Jim Cirile and Tanya C. Klein, make it work. One of my favorite moments was when the villain was literally playing an organ as his victims struggle against their death traps in homage to the Abominable Doctor Phibes. But, better than that is a group of cosmic gamblers—powerful people from different eras betting on the outcome of Miriam’s evening. They are the real reason Miriam is getting this second chance. However, when the Deklab family starts to pull together and act in a rational and logical fashion, our gamblers boo and demand a more satisfying ending. And so the story gets rewound, and our unfortunate heroine has to try again. I can’t help but feel the filmmakers are making fun of the people who would like this sort of film, and I feel personally attacked.
Despite its obvious flaws, To Your Last Death, is one of the best action/horror films I’ve seen in a long time. It presents a nontraditional protagonist, has a fresh take on a tired formula, and leaves room for a sequel. It is a fresh, campy evening of brutal fun.
"…one of the best action/horror films I’ve seen in a long time."