“To Your Last Death” is the first-of-Its-kind American 2-D animated horror movie. Produced by Coverage, Ink Films, the indie production took 5 years to produce and was painstakingly hand-drawn. Hubbed in Los Angeles, TYLD employed artists, animators, and colorists in 13 countries. Carl Frank (Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering) created the key art and character designs in a style meant to invoke a graphic novel, and the animation style will be familiar to fans of Archer and Metalocalypse.
Easily one of the highlights of the dumpster fire that is 2020, To Your Last Death mercilessly screams, kicks, and claws its way into my top three. With everything a regurgitation of everything else, TYLD is fresh. This sci-fi/horror/animation/breath of fresh air is the best film you probably haven’t heard about and I suggest adding it to that Amazon shopping basket and setting a couple of notifications to remind you when the film becomes available for download come October sixth.
How this film missed my radar, I have no idea. I’m a sucker for adult animation (including the abovementioned series), a huge Carl Frank fan and D&D nerd…and many of the voice actors are personal favourites. The cast is majestic, including the talents of Morena Baccarin (Gamemaster), Ray Wise (Cyrus), the legendary Bill Mosley (Pavel), and the lesser-known (I kid) William Shatner (Narrator/Overseer) with Dani Lennon (Miriam) as our leading scream queen. Great, now that I have piqued your interest, let us continue.
The animation is not going to be for everyone and is very stylised. It feels very mid-2000s Adult Swim but brighter and more vivid, like maybe you’ve had a couple grams of shrooms. Some of the animation can feel a little stiff at times, especially when characters are attacking, but I otherwise felt entirely engrossed. The emotions are spot on and you can really feel the angst, hatred and madness in the facial expressions. The gore is great and I feel that the style very much suited the content of the film—the sci-fi/horror hellscape that we are gifted.
The plot is so refreshing that I am overusing the word fresh. The film begins at the end of a family gathering gone wrong, with some wanton carnage and ultraviolence being the only two offerings on the menu. Then someone somewhere ate a couple grams of shrooms. Suddenly there are cosplaying deities, alternate realities or time fluxes, and some vixen that looks like a cross between a cyberpunk heroine and a Luis Royo sketch. It is wonderous. Everything then goes worse than it did before.
The voice acting is sublime, the characters have depth and personality (and we even get some personal growth), and the whole thing is wildly unpredictable. It is an exhilarating ride through an imaginative world with unique lore and a kaleidoscope of colourful kills. I know I’m being biased here as this is my favourite kind of thing, but I’m going to gush as it scratched all of my itches. What’s even more exciting is that the whole concept is franchisable—we could very easily get more content from this very promising universe of characters.
I guess as a critic, I do need to point out at least a few flaws. As mentioned earlier, the style of animation may seem stiff to some but was not an issue for me—its just not traditional. Also, the character of Jurek (Steve Geiger) may rub some folks the wrong way. He is in contention for the film’s big bad but is very much an over-the-top Russian bad guy stereotype. I personally found the character well-acted and enjoyable but a bit hyperbolised (which I believe was the point) but it is definitely an overused trope. As negatives go though, that’s about it.
As mentioned above, TYLD will be available from October 6th as a digital release via Amazon. I loved it. If you are a fan of animated titles, smart writing, fucked up families and clever kills, this is definitely a killer addition to your library. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer, poster, and a couple grams of shrooms below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.