TAD review: Curse The Hexecutioners

If I were to suggest seeing a movie called The Hexecutioners, you’d probably expect some occult-themed horror-comedy about hitmen who kill with curses. Or something like that. At least that’s what I imagined. That, however, is not what I got.

Written by Tony Burgess (Pontypool) and directed by Jesse Thomas Cook (Septic Man), The Hexecutioners, which has its world premiere at Toronto After Dark tonight, squanders a decent comedic premise ripe for social commentary—the legalization of assisted suicide results in the privatization of deathcare—in favour of jump scares in a spooky mansion inhabited by a death cult. It’s not a total wash, but the title sets you up for a much richer and more enjoyable experience.

Things get off to a promising start, with shy, socially awkward Malison (Liv Collins) on her first day on the job as a palliative technician, a death doula who works for a nickel-and-dime euthanasia company. But her first “closure” doesn’t go so well when, after administering a lethal dose to a comatose woman, the woman bolts upright, vomits and calls her a murderer, forcing her distraught husband to finish the job with a pillow. Seems closure training didn’t cover this. As a result, Malison is paired with Olivia (Sarah Power), who drinks, smokes and finalizes her closures with a revolver.

See? From here the movie should’ve milked the comedic potential in the Thelma & Louise of assisted hara-kiri. I know I shouldn’t judge a movie based on how I would’ve made it, but with a title like The Hexecutioners, it’s kind of asking for it. Instead, we’re given a run-of-the-mill scared-girls-in-a-mansion movie (the score at the end even riffs—badly—on John Carpenter’s Halloween score), which is something even a different, less fun title wouldn’t change.