Whether asleep or awake, Sam has problems, bad dreams he can’t remember and waking in bed with another man’s wife, Mia’s husband Tyler due back later that day from his latest overseas tour of duty requiring him to make a hasty departure. Experiencing sudden headaches and suffering from missing time, it is as though Sam’s awareness recedes into the back of his mind before he recovers consciousness elsewhere with no knowledge of how he got there.
A paramedic, his partner and best friend Jay is married to Mia’s sister Poppy, and with Tyler back in the country they are heading out of the city for the weekend and Sam isn’t supposed to be going along until Jay invites him despite his promise to Mia to stay away – something he has no memory of, nor of other conversations until he is shown them on video.
A supernatural thriller directed by Robi Michael from a script co-written with Gal Katzir, Every Time I Die stars The Last Ship‘s Drew Fonteiro as Sam, a disconnected dreamer whose guilt over a trauma he has no recollection of have pushed him into depression, a lonely soul clutching a tin box of fading photographs.
Are Sam’s blackouts physical or psychological, and what is the significance of the pictures which trigger memories and nightmares of his childhood? His only connection with Jay who has previously suffered from similar dissociative disorder and Mia who has now pushed him away, the tranquil setting of upstate New York offers Sam no comfort when his troubles are inside his head.
With twin sisters Melissa and Michelle Macedo playing Mia and Poppy, the film would have benefited from making their personalities more defined, particularly when scenes repeat, but the three men are more distinct, Marc Menchaca the pragmatic slacker Jay and Tyler Dash White the possessive and hair-trigger tempered Tyler, possibly also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder though for different reasons.
Told through shifting perspectives and back and forth through the recollections of Sam’s childhood, the past cannot be changed but nor can Sam shift the course of the present, witness to his own death and trying to protect his friends, Every Time I Die echoing Donnie Darko and I Origins in its themes and visuals and while it is not as engaging or satisfying as those works they are still good company to be keeping.
Every Time I Die will be available as a digital download from Monday 26th October