Director – Robi Michael, Screenplay – Gal Katzir & Robi Michael, Producers – Gal Katzir, Tal Lazar, Robi Michael & David M. Milch, Photography – Tal Lazar, Music – Ran Bagno, Visual Effects – Thomas Marinello, Special Effects Supervisor – Chris Hawthorne, Production Design – Kierra Jordan. Production Company – Mila Media/Harvest Wave Productions/Invisible Pictures.
Drew Fonteiro (Sam), Marc Menchaca (Jay), Tyler Dash White (Tyler), Melissa Macedo (Mia), Michelle Macedo (Poppy), Kenneth Moronta (Young Sam), Frankie Hinton (Sara), Lia Johnson (Sam’s Mother), Paul Megna (Sam’s Father)
Sam accompanies his friend Jay, a fellow paramedic, up to a lakeside cabin for the weekend. Sam has been having an affair with Mia, the wife of Tyler who has been overseas on duty as a soldier. She is the first girl Sam has been with and he realises that he is in love with her. At the cabin, Sam keeps having blackouts. In one of these, he tells the others how he was responsible for the death of his sister Sara who drowned as a child. Sam emerges from another blackout as Tyler pursues and attacks him, having found out about Mia. Tyler kills Sam but then Sam finds that he now inhabits Jay’s body. When ‘Jay’ accuses Tyler of killing him, the others think he has gone crazy. Sam passes through various of their bodies, all the while trying to prove that Tyler murdered him and how this relates to the death of Sara.
Every Time I Die was a feature-length directorial for Robi Michael who has elsewhere worked as an editor and producer.
I admit to being intrigued by the capsule premise of the film – “When Sam is murdered in a remote lake, his consciousness begins to travel through the bodies of his friends in an effort to protect them from his killer.” It was not long before that I had read the novel The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle (2018) by Stuart Turton, an Agatha Christie-murder mystery by way of Groundhog Day (1993) where the detective inhabits a different body of someone at the murder locale every day. I thought it had great possibilities as a film (it is apparently due as a tv mini-series) and Every Time I Die suggested something very similar.
On the other hand, after an intriguing premise, much of the first 40 minutes of the film feels nothing at all like this. We have Drew Fonteiro who is having a secret affair with Melissa Macedo, the wife of his friend Tyler Dash White. He joins them and another couple for a getaway to a cabin by the lake. While there, he has difficulty containing his feelings for Melissa and tells her has fallen in love with her. He has also been having flashes back to the death of his sister for which he feels responsible. He also has blackouts and during one of these recounts on a video recording that he killed his sister.
The actors are all okay and these scenes pass well enough with no issues. On the other hand, there does not seem anything happening in the first half of the film to do with the premise of the central character hopping through bodies. You are wondering if maybe the film is building up to a big revelation about the death of the sister and this has something to do with it.
About halfway through, there comes the point where Drew Fonteiro is attacked and then killed by Tyler Dash White, which is a harsh and dramatic scene. It is only at this point that the film’s fantastic premise kicks in as Fonteiro’s character then comes around in bodies of various of the others of the group. While dealing with everyone’s confusion at who he is, he attempts to confront Tyler over murdering him, which only inspires Tyler to kill their bodies. The performances are good and at this point you feel that the film is reaching its potential.
On the other hand, just when you feel that the film has finally found where it wants to go, it starts losing the plot. The ending of the show goes in confusing directions. Much of the film builds up towards a resolution with events from the past but then the show just arrives at an ending where Sam goes into the lake in Tyler’s truck and ends up inhabiting Tyler to save one of the sisters.