Utilizing a rather novel premise, Chad Archibald’s I’ll Take Your Dead revolves around William (Aidan Devine), known as “The Candy Butcher” to those in the criminal underworld, who is proficient in making dead bodies disappear. Living in a remote farm house with his daughter Gloria (Ava Preston), he has garnered a reputation for being the best in the business. So when a group of cocky gang members (Ari Millen, Brandon McKnight, Raffaele Brereton) come calling for his services William does not even bat an eye.
However, things take an unexpected turn when one of the bodies, Jackie (Jess Salgueiro), dumped at the house turns out to be still alive. Unsure of what to do, and hesitant to step in the middle of gang disputes, William decides to patch up the young woman’s wounds and keep her hostage within his home until he can figure out his next move.
There is much to enjoy in Archibald’s film, it looks slick and sustains a nice level of tension throughout. The performances by Devine, Preston and Salgueiro also help to keep one engaged even when some of the tonal shifts don’t quite land the way they should.
Unfortunately, the script is where I’ll Take Your Dead stumbles. The film treads in character architypes that feel extremely dated. The visible minorities in the film are either gangbangers, dead bodies of gangbangers, or connected to gang members. The few that that have actual lines speak in a way that borders on cartoonish at times. Also, the film misses the opportunity to make Jackie a truly complex individual. The buildup to her independence never feels as empowering as it should.
Furthermore, the film never incorporates the supernatural aspects to its fullest potential. At times feeling like The Sixth Sense by way of From Dusk Till Dawn, as Gloria believes the dead are haunting her home, Archibald’s film frequently flirts with building on its ghost story elements but ultimately feels like an afterthought. Despite some entertaining moments, I’ll Take Your Dead was more frustrating than anything else as it never delivers on the immense potential it displays.