TO YOUR LAST DEATH bills itself as the first US made 2-D animated horror film. After wracking my brain, I’ve been unable to refute that contention, except to note that while TO YOUR LAST DEATH does have horror aspects, but it also plays with some other concepts that make this an interesting movie. This is more than just a hack and slash movie.
TO YOUR LAST DEATH employs the near-ubiquitous flashback framing technique where we start out at the end and then see how we got there. We meet Miriam drenched in blood and then flash back to how it all happened. I tend not to like this unless there is a good reason to use it because I think can ruin some of the surprises to come. This movie is the rare occasion where the technique is beneficial to the storytelling.
TO YOUR LAST DEATH plays like one of those motion comic Marvel toyed with years ago, complete with comic panels. At first, it seemed like the characters were just going to be fairly static drawings that move a bit. As the movie progresses, the animation becomes more detailed and looks less like comics that kind of move. The characters display emotions and their movement becomes smoother. Once I settled in, I really enjoyed the animation style. The bold lines and bright coloring really popped. It’s rare I notice the music in a movie, but in this case, it really stood out. The score was set perfectly to what is seen on screen, setting the mood and adding to the tension. Because this is a horror film, there’s no shortage of blood and violence to go along with its cursing, brief nudity, and adult themes.
In addition to strong animation, TO YOUR LAST DEATH features a strong cast. William Shatner (if you don’t know who he is, me telling you what he’s been in won’t help) provides the narration, which is very much like the introduction to a Twilight Zone episode. He’s so good at it, it makes me wish he’d do more voice-over work. Morena Baccarin (Deadpool, V TV series) provides a commanding presence to her mysterious character. Ray Wise (Twin Peaks, RoboCop) lends an air of menace to his creepster baddie, who kind of looks like him in real life.
TO YOUR LAST DEATH is a fun horror movie with some interesting concepts. Somehow it makes you care what happens to these two dimensional animated characters, which is essential for any horror movie. While it is animated, this movie definitely is not for kids. Older horror fans looking for something original to watch should give it a try. Score: 8/10
TO YOUR LAST DEATH will be available October 6th on Blu-ray, and is currently available on a number of digital and cable platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Comcast, Spectrum, and Cox.
Have you see the movie? What did you think? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!