Horror is a frustrating genre that rarely puts out anything unique. The few times it does put out something fresh, that idea will get forced into every scenario imaginable until the last shred of originality is long gone. One of the few cases where this didn’t happen was Final Destination. Released in 2000, the film followed a group of teenagers being killed off one by one after surviving a near death experience. Despite spawning four sequels, the idea itself never really popped up outside of that one franchise.
That was at least until this year’s Tell Me How I Die. The film follows a group of participants in a clinical trial as they start having visions of the future as a side effect of the drug they’re taking. While most of the participants have visions of minor events right before they happen, Anna (Virginia Gardner) starts having visions of the other participants dying gruesome deaths. As her visions start to come true, she decides to try to escape the hospital they are staying at.
That set-up is quite strong for a suspenseful horror flick, and for the most part the film delivers on that potential. The acting is strong throughout, and the movie provides some clever kills with its limited budget. On top of that, the film has a great score. Where the movie falls apart is when you try to give the internal logic of the story too much thought. The characters never seem to become aware of everything that’s going on, and struggle to become engaging people to follow as a result. This is especially the case during the film’s final third, where the viewer likely has a clear idea of where the story will go, with the characters still struggling to piece things together.
Despite its flaws, Tell Me How I Die is a capable horror flick that builds upon the Final Destination formula in interesting ways. The film delivers a clever flick with just enough creativity to keep you engaged throughout. While it would’ve been better served with a different final act, what is on screen is enough to entertain you from start to finish.