Movie Review: Chain of Death (2019)

July 15, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Mike (John Patrick Amedori) heads home, his wife Rebecca (Kim Johnston Ulrich) in tow, at the behest of his mother Emma (Adrienne Barbeau). The reason? Mike’s Dad Michael (Ray Wise) is dying from some dread disease and she needs the ‘ol helpin’ hand.

Long story short, Mike ends up requiring the services of an assisted suicide facility, which would be difficult in and of itself for emotional reasons alone…but this particular business is a titch different, as instead of the usual monetary fees, the person asking for their services must in turn murder someone else. How far will Mike go, and will he be able to keep his own hide intact before all is said and done?

Let’s kick out the jams with the positives of Chain of Death. Working from a screenplay by Andres Rosende, Director David Martín Porras (who also co-created the film’s story) presents a pretty suspenseful, at times gloriously unbelievable, narrative that while it stumbles here and there (especially in it’s revelation of mysteries presented) is nevertheless a damn solid watch. Mike’s situation (if not the character himself…more on that in a bit) is engaging and tense, and definitely holds interest throughout the film’s hour and forty-one minute runtime. Helping things along is a slick visual style aided by the aesthetic eye (two of them actually) of cinematographer Phil Klucsarits.

In the acting department things are a mixed bag for sure. It’s not clear if his character was underwritten, or he just wasn’t feeling the whole bag, but John Patrick Amedori comes off as flat and disinterested…not exactly the best quality for a a leading man. Faring better are the supporting performances courtesy of genre legends Wise and Barbeau who bring their normal strong acting chops and class to the project and manage to elevate it just by their presence.

If you dig on suspense pictures with a unique conceit, you could do worse than Chain of Death; it has a nice mounting tension, and the presence of some horror biz greats in the cast makes it worth checking out at least once…but with it’s bland lead and story stumbles, I doubt you’ll give it a second thought once the credits role.

 

 

 

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