After writing the film Sicario and its sequel, earning an Oscar nomination with his Hell or High Water screenplay, and co-creating the TV show Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan is making his feature-length directorial debut with the new thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead.
And coincidentally or otherwise, Those Who Wish Me Dead — currently playing in theaters and on HBO Max — has the same filming location as three of Sheridan’s prior credits, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
Following in the tradition of Hell or High Water, Sicario, and Sicario: Day of the Soldado, Those Who Wish Me Dead was shot in New Mexico. In fact, Sheridan and his production team had to construct a makeshift forest in the middle of the desert for the new movie.
What is ‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ about?
HBO Max bills Those Wish Me Dead as a “suspenseful thriller” in which Angelina Jolie plays Hannah, “a smoke jumper reeling from the loss of three lives she failed to save from a fire, who comes across a traumatized 12‐year‐old boy with nowhere else to turn.”
The cast also includes Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead), Tyler Perry (Madea’s Farewell Play ), Nicholas Hoult (The Great), Medina Senghore (Happy!), Jake Weber (13 Reasons Why), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones), and Finn Little (Reckoning).
Where was the 'Those Who Wish Me Dead' filming location?
Sheridan shot Those Who Wish Me Dead in New Mexico’s Bernalillo, Torrance, Sandoval, and Rio Arriba counties in 2019, as the Albuquerque Journal reports.
“In our story, the setting itself is a character, and once we started scouting our locations — from the Santa Clara Pueblo to the Jemez Mountains and the wooded foothills of the Manzanos — we knew that New Mexico would provide the rugged scope that this story demands,” the filmmaker tells the Journal.
For the film’s wildfire scenes, Sheridan had a simulated forest constructed in the New Mexico desert, and he was amused — initially, at least — to see real birds, squirrels, snakes, and mice take up residence in the fake trees.
“At first, we thought it was great, and then we realized we were going to be setting this all on fire, so for about five days we had to shoo animals so that there was nothing left in our fake forest to die,” Sheridan recalls. “But it was astonishing that in the middle of the desert we had all these animals that arrived, inexplicably, across the desert to go live in our forest.”
What are critics saying about the film?
Reviews for Those Who Wish Me Dead are mixed, according to the review aggregation website Metacritic, where the film has a Metascore of 58 out of 100.
On one side of the spectrum, Richard Roeper calls Those Who Wish Me Dead “one of the best thrillers in recent memory,” giving it a full four stars in a review for the Chicago Sun-Times.
“Director Sheridan and his co-writers Charles Leavitt and Michael Koryta (whose novel is the source material) have fashioned a thoroughly engrossing tale filled with memorable characters, dryly funny dialogue and show-stopping, often brutal confrontations,” Roeper added.
On the other side, The Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday saddled the film with a one-star review, writing, “In Those Who Wish Me Dead, Jolie demonstrates her career-long fascination with action derring-do and physical punishment, to diminishing effect. In this pulpy, borderline laughable genre picture, not even her hair is believable.”