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Panic Fest 24' "Don't Die" - movie review

The film "Don't Die" delves into the toll the medical industry takes on Americans, highlighting the struggles many face in accessing essential care. While political dynamics heavily influence available options for most, some are left with no recourse due to lack of insurance, benefits, or financial stability. In this crime thriller from Benjamin Stark and writer Jeremy Burgess, "Don't Die" masquerades as a crime horror while subtly exploring themes of mortality.

Theodus Crane delivers a compelling performance as the central figure, "Jenks," who, after robbing a pharmacy, finds himself entangled in a series of events with his friend Randy (Joshua Burge). Despite attempts at misdirection, the narrative remains relatively straightforward, albeit with a nuanced interplay of trust and misfortune. Crane's spirited portrayal sets the pace, although the dynamic between him and Burgess shines brightest, leaving Randy's character feeling somewhat underexplored. While the ensemble cast performs admirably, some characters lack depth, diminishing the impact of pivotal moments.

Crane's towering presence occasionally lends moments of tension a slightly comical edge. Although each actor excels within their given role, the film struggles to balance its ambitious concept within its runtime. A stronger focus on character backgrounds and motivations, rather than solely on Jenks, could have enriched the narrative.

"Don't Die" echoes themes reminiscent of Crane's previous work in "TWD," exploring survival and defiance against authority without a clear antagonist. While everyone bears fault to some extent, the film fails to provide compelling reasons for its characters to persevere.


Don't Die

Director: Benjamin Stark

Screenwriter: Jeremy Burgess

Cast: Theodus Crane, Virginia Newcomb, Joshua Burge

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