Movie Review: Haunted by his dead wife “As Long as We Both Shall Live?”

Here’s a drab little romance about a guy who might not be ready to “get back out there” because his late wife’s still in his head. Literally. He starts seeing her ghost.

And Sarah (Yael Stone) took those vows seriously, the ones that end with “As Long as We Both Shall Live.” Shouldn’t Malcolm (Josh Helman) do the same?

There are two ways you’d guess this would go. One is sad but silly, with Sarah tormenting the guy about “moving on,” or Malcolm being too reluctant to “let go.” The other is she haunts him, terrorizes the cute barmaid Nya (Jennifer Allcott), maybe even KILLS her.

That’s the Blumhouse version.

What director and co-writer Ali Askari goes for here is far more bland, not particularly romantic, not that cute, not really all that disturbing.

Sarah went out for baking soda for a cake she was forcing loving hubby Malcolm to make. She never came home. A year later, her sister (Yvonne Cone) taunts him into “rejoining society.”

His boss and partner in the Utica, NY real-estate investment business that Malcolm’s dad co-founded is Jim (Paul Sorvino), a near-hysteric who sees bankruptcy around every corner and a stroke in every breath.

“We’re all gonna DIE.”

One prospective business deal and montage of blind-dates that Dee (Cone) sets up later, he stumbles into the cute bar wench Nya. Maybe life will get better and happiness will return. Maybe he’ll tell her he’s widowed. Maybe after she hits him with this.

“Why are you moping? Moping is for losers!”

And then, just as things turn “interesting” — in the traditional use of the word, not as it’s employed here — a scolding Sarah starts appearing to Malcolm and it could all come to pieces.

Aussie “Mad Max” supporting player Helman looks a bit like Chris Pratt, only not the least bit funny. Not that the script does him any favors. There’s little cute and charming to play, other than Malcolm’s habit of saying “M’lady” to Nya on their first date.

Allcott, of “Kate Can’t Swim,” filmed after this 2016 film (just now coming out), has a Parker Posey look and a hint of perky. But as Malcolm and Nya chat and carry on in the quietest bar in America, one strains for a laugh or a taste of romance and struggles to figure out what tone they’re going for and why they aren’t hitting it.

That “quietest bar” crack is a clue. There’s little to no background life to any scenes. Static business meetings where Malcolm distractedly tries to text this free spirit who’s just entered his life, dull arguments with the dead wife here and there, a party that doesn’t have the background action to seem like a party at all.

“As Long as We Both Shall Live” is underpopulated and lifeless, as stark as Nya’s stand-up comic pal’s act, and the anemic response to it.

It’s not bad so much as not all there, although I think I’ll go as far as calling this lifeless four-handed script not worth filming.

MPA Rating: unrated, profanity, sexual situations

Cast: Josh Helman, Yael Stone, Jennifer Allcott, Yvonne Cone and Paul Sorvino

Credits: Directed by Ali Askari, scripted by Ali Askari, Joe McKernan, Golan Ramraz and Adam C. Sherer. A Boom Pictures release.

Running time: 1:37

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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4 Responses to Movie Review: Haunted by his dead wife “As Long as We Both Shall Live?”

  1. Sean Dylan says:

    Did you actually see this movie? I had already purchased a pre-order because I love Paul Sorvino, then I read your review before watching it and got really pissed that I wasted seven bucks (I got it on sale). But I already bought it, so I reluctantly watched it today. I really enjoyed it. Is it a perfect movie? No. But it’s far from as bad as your review makes it out to seem. The actors were great pretty much across the board. The writing and direction isn’t the best I’ve ever seen, but has some really good moments. When the wife was sitting on the end of the bed – I honestly did not see that coming, and I knew what the movie was about! Ditto the drill. Actually now that I think about it, a bunch of stuff was surprising and fun in the movie. It feels like you wanted a specific kind of movie, and instead of judging this one on its merits, you just got mad that it wasn’t what was already in your head (which apparently was some kind of imaginary friend slasher flick). I honestly think your review is ridiculous based on the movie I saw. Maybe watch it again without a big chip on your shoulder, or your unwritten screenplay in your head. You just might enjoy it more. 3 out of 4 stars.

    • Roger Moore says:

      It rises to mediocre here and there, has the most contrived third act I’ve seen in years and has a couple of casting calls working against it. Pretty serious misfire. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Mike says:

    You have to look at it differently. I agree with Sean Dylan, in that it was a fun viewing experience. It’s an independent film, not an MCU blockbuster with a billion dollars in the budget. I found the story relatable, even believable. The conditions Malcolm finds himself experiencing have produced hallucinations in people many times in the real world. And it’s a “guy meets a girl” movie with normal conflicts. The actors were mostly locals, which is pretty impressive for a small city. I also love how the film chooses to immerse the viewer in a real city’s environment as opposed to shooting a locale for a fictional setting.

    • Roger Moore says:

      Actually I don’t. I’ve been doing this a very long time. I review 500-1000 films a year. When I lay out the failings of an iffy script dully acted, you can take that or leave it. And the precious darling commenter who points out how “viewers” on IMDB “rated” it doesn’t seem to realize that this “poll” is easily and often gamed by friends and family of the production. When I see a movie with a “name” or two in it that doesn’t work, I not only review it, as I piece together the credits box at the bottom of the review I wonder and speculate on what happened. This movie was finished in 2016 and never got a real distributor. Why? Read the review. I laid out the reasons why. And if you’re connected with the production you can knock this off. It’s not good enough to release, which is why no one wanted to release it. For five years.
      I’ve got better things to do than respond to every family member who invested in junior’s little bomb and thinks they can talk suckers into renting it by bluffing.

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