By Justin D Williams
Story - Troubled social justice activist Miriam DeKalb (Dani Lennon) is the only survivor of a deadly revenge scheme set up by her cruel, billionaire father. Her sister and two brothers were not so lucky. But when a mysterious entity known only as the Gamester (Morena Baccarin) offers Miriam the chance to go back in time and try again -- as a pawn in a bizarre interstellar gambling match -- she has no choice but to bite. Now Miriam must relive the most horrific night of her life all over again — but this time with foreknowledge to give her a fighting chance.
“To Your Last Death” I’m hoping will be a surprise hit for 2019 in the animation department. This movie was a very fun and gory ride with a concept and world that I want more of. As stated in the synopsis above we follow Miriam DeKalb who is an activist with a troubled past. She and her siblings are called by their father to mend the fences. However their father has a different plan and that is revenge on the children that try to go against him. Events happen that leads to their deaths and Miriam ending up with the police. A strange being offers a chance to set things right. What makes “To Your Last Death” work so well is the characters and concept of the story. Miriam is put in this position where she has to face her demons. Her relationships with her siblings isn’t the best. She seems to battle personal mental health issues and people are trying to kill her. Miriam is the heart of the story as each challenge and demon she confronts shapes her into a more well rounded character. However with great characters aside, there is the concept of the Gamester who is the one causing all this trouble for Miriam. This sick entity who is taking pleasure of Miriam pain is one of the highlights. I like this concept of these God like beings playing humans like a chessboard. Each person in the game is nothing more than a piece on the board for them. Not much is explain on their purpose, why they’re doing this and how does one get chosen for the games. That would be my only real gripe with the story. They left a lot of mystery with the true villains of the story. I wanted to know more about them and hopefully their will be a sequel to this.
Animation - I absolutely love the animation in this film. It has a very comic book motion animation approach that isn’t really used often. Even the opening shot is split like a comic book panel. I felt the look really helped to get me more immersed in the story. There is some gory moments and I felt the animation displayed this very well. To be honest the animation might not be everyone cup of the tea due to the movement and motion. However, the colors, details to backgrounds and character designs really worked for me.
Acting - The cast features the voices of William Shatner, Morena Baccarain, Ray Wise, Dani Lennon and Bill Moseley. The cast is stellar and everyone does great with their characters. The highlight is definitely Dani Lennon as Miriam. She is the focal point of the film and her voice really delivers evoking us on various emotions. Scenes of doubt, fear, anger and sadness all show her range and hits her arc right on the head. William Shatner does great as the narrator of this story and makes you wonder if he’s the created of this games.
Final Thoughts - To Your Last Death is a crowd pleasing animation film. It has some compelling characters, a cool twist, good actors and beautiful animation. You will enjoy the story and world building.