Saturday, October 21, 2023

Toronto After Dark 2023 Review: DANIEL'S GOTTA DIE

Reviewed by: Josh "The Merc" Raynor

Some say family is everything, but they've never met a family quite like this before. They are the textbook definition of a dysfunctional family, and it's up to the one good egg among the group to try to bring them together after their father passes. Daniel and his estranged siblings are tasked with spending a weekend together if they want to get their inheritance, but there are rules, and if they don't follow these rules, they don't get the money.

This dark comedy/thriller, directed by Jeremy Lalonde, takes us on a twisted journey of familial bonding, including money, murder, iguanas, cake, coconuts, and so much more. It's a wild ride that plays almost like a whodunit, but let's us know right away who's gonna do it, and instead focuses on whether they'll actually pull it off.

Joel David Moore plays the titular character Daniel, and is joined by an amazing cast including Mary Lynn Rajskub as his sociopath sister Mia, Jason Jones as his drug addict brother Victor, Carly Chalkin as his self-absorbed influencer sister Mia, Chantel Riley as Daniel's fiance Emily, Iggy Pop as his father Edward, and the late, great Bob Saget as his father's best friend Lawrence.

 This entire cast did a great job bringing this script to life. They take these characters, most of whom are just terrible people, and deliver exactly what is needed. Joel David Moore is fantastic in this. His ability to bring a dry, innocent sense of humor, and then flip it to something darker at the end is superb. Jason Jones is hilarious, taking on the majority of the physical comedy in the film, and shining whenever he's on screen.

And then there's Bob Saget. This was his final movie before his death in January 2022, and he is great in it. His character plays things a bit more straight than the others, but it's his biting sense of humor and sarcasm that really makes his performance stand out. If you're only familiar with him from things like Full House, this may be a big shift for you. But if you know Saget's stand up, or are just looking forward to seeing him as someone other than Danny Tanner, then I think you'll really enjoy what he brings to this performance.

Daniel's Gotta Die was filmed during the height of COVID, back in early 2021, which explains the limited casting and set locations, but I think it's those restrictions that really helped make this film something special. It never felt too over the top or unnecessary, it flowed well, and had some great humor throughout, including a fantastic scene involving an iguana and a chainsaw. 

And while not every character moment or joke lands completely, there is more than enough successes in this film to make it something special and worth checking out. Also, hang out through the credits for an extra laugh.


The Merc's Score: 8.5/10

No comments:

Post a Comment