Judge Paul Pritchard zigged when he clearly should have zagged.
They should have stayed at home…
Australian horror movie Come and Get Me sees writer-director Chris Sun set out to deliver as brutal an experience as possible, regardless of whether it is to the film's detriment or not. For all the savagery, abusive language, and unrelenting violence the movie contains, there is nothing here that hasn't been shown before. With very little in the way of either a compelling story or engaging characters, Sun's debut is all too forgettable.
The film follows four friends on a girls' night out in Brisbane. Having consumed far too much alcohol, the group calls on an old school friend to pick them up, but when the girls become the target for a gang of vicious killers, their night quickly descends into all-out terror.
There are fundamental problems here that almost immediately limit how much the viewer is able to invest themselves in the film. Most pressing is the fact that Sun doesn't give us even one character we can root for. I'm not naive, and I've been watching movies of this ilk long enough to know that well-written characters are far from the norm, but even with my low expectations, I was surprised at the lack of depth here. The opening half hour is a little too disjointed, as the emphasis shifts from the soon-to-be victims to the killers who are midway through the brutal murder of a pair of unlucky young women, and back again. I'm very much of the opinion that the less screen time given to a killer the better—regardless of whether they are the film's best asset or not—and it's hard to shake the feeling here that the added time spent with the killers early on proves detrimental to the impact they are able to make.
Regardless of how the film suffers as a whole, it's hard to disagree that writer-director Chris Sun delivers one great scene when the girls—who at this point are unaware of what is going on—share a car journey with the killers. Having been drinking all night, the girls are in a boisterous mood, with one in their number especially quick to voice her opinion on their new travel mates. Initially the men brush it off with nothing more than a few choice words, which gradually become more threatening as the barbs continue. It's brilliantly effective, as we the viewer are left to helplessly watch as any possible chance these girls had of surviving the night is thrown away. It may not seem much, but it's enough to keep me interested in what Sun does next. When the inevitable violence finally breaks out—after what seems like an agonizing eternity—it comes in a sudden rush of bloodletting that, unfortunately, immediately relieves the film of the tension it had only just built up so beautifully.
From here on in, Come and Get Me reverts to following the slasher rulebook to the letter. We get everything from the feisty final girl, the hopeless blonde, and annoying lapses in logic, to the "shocking" finale that you can see coming from a mile away. Admittedly Sun captures it all in a way that few of his indie peers could hope to achieve, but it's not really enough to warrant giving the film an unreserved recommendation.
The film features a reasonably high number of effects shots that—especially when taking into account the film's low budget—rarely fail to impress. Make no mistake: Come and Get Me is a nasty little film, and Sun and Company seem to revel in delivering brutal acts of violence. One scene in particular sees a young lady's face caved in thanks to a psychopath with a two-by-four covered in nails. The results are not pretty, and the close-up shots of the bloody mess certainly highlight the quality of the practical effects work the filmmakers have employed.
Much of Come and Get Me takes place in extremely dark locations, and at times the DVD transfer does suffer for this. Detail is lost, occasionally even making it difficult to determine exactly what is going on. The stereo soundtrack is nice and clear, with some suitably grim sound effects standing out during the film's many kill scenes.
The number and quality of extras on this single-disc release are impressive for such a low-budget film. A fun, informative, and fast-paced commentary track fronted by director Chris Sun in fine form is the star attraction here, and will delight fans of the film. In addition to this we get audition footage, a breakdown of the special effects employed for each of the kill scenes (complete with commentary), rehearsal footage, cast and crew interviews, deleted scenes, and stuff-ups (i.e., bloopers).
The lack of any real ambition to push the boundaries of the slasher genre may hinder Come and Get Me, as it really doesn't do enough to differentiate itself from an overcrowded market, but the fact remains there are moments here which are genuinely effective, meaning fans of horror and Ozploitation will not have their time completely wasted should they opt to rent it.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Bloody Earth Films
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