October 26, 2020 Every Time I Die (Movie Review)
No, it is not the latest from Buffalo’s finest heavy hitters, instead it’s a new Thriller entitled Every Time I Die. Gravitas Ventures and Lightbulb Film Distribution delivered the metaphysical mindtrip to all major streaming and Digital platforms on October 26, 2020.
Every Time I Die marks the feature debut of talented Director Robi Michael (A Can of Paint short 2004, The Man Who Knew How to Fly short 2010), who co-wrote the story with Gal Katzir (The Works 2005, Beyond the Epic Run documentary 2009). A complicated, psychologically and metaphysically twisting tale, the film revolves around Sam (Drew Fonteiro: ER series, The Last Ship series), a paramedic with a traumatic past.
On a weekend getaway to a lake house with his best friend Jay (Marc Menchaca: Ozark series, The Outsider series), Jay’s wife Poppy (Michelle Macedo: Girlboss series, Goliath series), as well as Poppy’s sister Mia (Melissa Macedo: Girlboss series, Blood Heist 2017) and her husband Tyler (Tyler Fleming: The Shadow short 2015, The Defenders mini-series), tension leads to spilled blood. And as his body lies bleeding out in the woods, Sam’s consciousness travels into his best friend in hopes of protecting him from a killer.
If this was a Horror film, it would be apt to draw corollaries to 2019’s The Lifechanger or any offering that revolves around a skinwalker. Instead, this is a Psychological Thriller that plays with metaphysics and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). A mind-bending trip through a floating consciousness that seeks to protect those it loves and find redemption, Every Time I Die is not going to be a film for every moviegoer. Though Michael packages his journey wonderfully, with lovely cinematography—thanks to Tal Lazar (Cho Lon 2013, Hatched series)—and a well-done score from Ran Bagno (Plasticine 2013, Zero Motivation 2014), it is still a trippy ride that requires a willing suspicion of big-time disbelief.
However, if you’re on board with the premise, Every Time I Die is a Thriller that diverts from the herd to offer its viewers something truly unique. It’s an idea that necessitates some stellar acting and the cast delivers, with Fonteiro, Menchaca and Michelle Macedo leading the group. But before we get into the adults, let’s just offer up some praise for the film’s two youngest stars, Kenneth Moronta and Frankie Hinton, who are both exceptional in their acting debuts.
Trying to keep up with the kids, the adults turn out some of their finest work. Setting the stage for this writhing tale, Fonteiro does an excellent job of portraying Sam. With a traumatic past, a demanding job, and frequent blackout episodes, he’s facing a lot when he falls head over heels for the ‘wrong’ woman. This places the character into a rough position, emotionally, and Fonteiro is able to embody the heartbreak, confusion and struggle necessary to relay this conundrum to his audience. Similarly, while his role becomes equally challenging once Sam’s consciousness finds its home inside his body, Menchaca does a superb job as the jovial Jay.
Though when this wandering sentience finds its home inside Michelle Macedo’s Poppy, the actress delivers a stand-out performance. Altering her mannerisms and expressions to show the dramatic shift in her once near-silent character, Macedo helps moviegoers to understand the immediacy of this bizarre event, as far as Sam is concerned. The talented actress’ twin sister, Melissa Macedo, also gives an excellent performance in the role of Mia, while Fleming is solid as the stereotypical jealous husband with a violent streak.
An intriguing entry into the Thriller field, Every Time I Die reminds us that sometimes it takes a change in perspective, the ability to see ourselves from the outside, to allow our most deeply buried truths to rise to the surface. A non-linear tale, one that is apt to translate differently to each viewer, it’s main character’s ultimate goal is really very simple: redemption. This, at least, should be a universal take away from Michael’s debut feature, which shines with exceptional promise for the director’s future. For all of the above, Cryptic Rock gives Every Time I Die 4 of 5 stars.