2.5 out of 5 stars (decent)
Thank you to Cedric Jouarie for reaching out to me for this review. The film discusses sexual assault. It is in Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles.
The Very Last Day is a solid but uneven movie. Written, produced, and directed by Cedric Jouarie, it begins as a slow-paced yet interesting character drama before transforming into a somewhat graphic Misery-like affair. Upon making that turn, the film becomes a look at past traumas that’s worth waiting for if you’ve got the stomach for it. I wish it had gotten there faster, but it delivers the goods.
Taiwanese author Raymond Ho (Lawrence Ong) has made a career off of the real-life tragedies of those around him. This has distanced him from his wife Viola (Heng-Yin Chou), but his literary agent Marian (Yling Tsai) is happy with his sales. However, when a perky fan named Melanie (Wei-Yi Lin) starts following and eventually seducing him, he agrees to go to her faraway home. However, this affair becomes far more dangerous when Raymond discovers Melanie may be far more malevolent than she let on.
The Very Last Day feels like 2 different movies. The first hour of the film is slow-paced and entirely focused on Raymond’s day to day life and struggles, very little of which play into the 2nd half when he is kidnapped. The section is interesting by itself, but given how much time and energy is spent developing these plot elements, it’s slightly frustrating when they are resolved in the final 30 seconds of the movie with ease. The disturbing second half is where the film really shines, making commentary about a modern-day issue, giving both leads plenty of opportunities to show off their range and ending on a satisfying climax. While an overlong setup slightly holds it back, The Very Last Day is a well-acted horror film that I’d recommend for genre fans. It available for rent on Vimeo now.
Likely rated R for Language and Some Graphic Violence