I’ll Take Your Dead has one of the most unique premises you will ever see. William (Aidan Devine) is a farmer, but he also has another job: he makes dead bodies disappear. This isn’t something he likes or even wants to do, but through circumstances beyond his control, his farmhouse became a dumping ground for the causalities of the local gang. Known to others as the Candy Butcher, William is a widow, but he lives with his 12-year-old daughter Gloria (Ava Preston), who is used to seeing the dead bodies. This, however, doesn’t stop her from being haunted by their often gruesome ghosts.
The story begins when some of the gang members drop off three bodies. When William begins his disposal process, he soon realizes that one of them isn’t actually dead. He nurses Jackie (Jess Salgueiro) back to health but keeps her tied up in bed so she doesn’t mess up his and Gloria’s plans to skip town. More trouble arises when Jackie’s murderer gets word that she’s still alive and comes back to finish the job.
I’ll Take Your Dead is another film that blends genres and it succeeds in doing so. Director Chad Archibald and co-writer Jayme Laforest combine elements of horror with family drama – a sub-genre that has seen rejuvenated success with the likes of A Quiet Place, Get Out and Hereditary. But I’ll Take Your Dead also features elements of gore, organized crime, home invasion and the supernatural. While the supernatural elements are fun, the film could’ve easily worked without them as a solid family drama – but viewers will be glad it didn’t. As they’re not necessarily expected, the use of frightful ghosts is a very effective and fun addition. It’s easy to feel Gloria’s fear with the way the film utilizes old-school scares alongside its strong score and impressive special effects make-up.
At the film’s core is the relationship between William and his daughter Gloria, as well as the way they bond with Jackie. It’s always great to see a father-daughter relationship portrayed on-screen, and this one is both strong and strained as William struggles to come to terms with the fact that Gloria is growing up. She is dealing with the death of her mother due to Leukaemia and getting her period for the first time, while also growing up in the presence her dad’s unusual side job and the terrifying ghosts that come with it.
Sometimes it feels like the stakes aren’t quite high enough, but that doesn’t impact the film’s entertainment. The mix of genres may sound like a lot at first, but they’re all blended together seamlessly, creating a very original and engaging idea. The film is also cast excellently with each actor giving a strong performance. At only 85 minutes, the pace unfolds naturally and the story is kept simple despite everything it covers. I’ll Take Your Dead is an easy watch for when you want a straightforward, heartfelt horror.