I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE (2010)
I first heard about Bradley Scott Sullivan’s low budget indie horror I Didn’t Come Here To Die when it was playing the festival circuit back in 2010 and as usual there were comparisons to the original Evil Dead and it was getting some heavy praise. It seems there is a certain tradition in the horror fan-base that if someone is among the first to see something new, it is automatically dubbed a masterpiece and compared to some classic horror. More often then not, it only sets others up for a big disappointment. And I have to say that the hype machine once again has put a mildly amusing, but far from classic indie horror up on a pedestal that it falls from once actually seen. There was some gory fun to be had here, but it’s far from a great flick.
The film tells the simple story of a group of six volunteers going into the deep woods to begin clearing the way for a new camp being built for inner city kids. Each person has their own reasons for being there and each one their odd personality quirks. The gruesome ball gets rolling when a night of drunken partying around the campfire results in inebriated Miranda (Madi Goff) walking right into a branch and loosing an eye. Group leader Sophia (Emmy Robbin) takes her to the hospital and leaves the rest to do their assigned work. And you’d think an accidental injury would be lesson enough for these misfits to watch what they are doing but no. Another accident with a chainsaw leaves a member dead this time and another, who blames himself, crazed and suicidal. While the deaths are accidental and self inflicted, the remaining two members begin to panic as to how incriminating it looks and soon more blood is shed as Sophia returns and one of the three would rather kill than be implicated in a crime they actually didn’t commit. If it sounds dumb…yea, it kinda is, though it is done with a humorous slant and the middle act, when the carnage starts to snowball, is rather amusing despite how silly it gets.
Writer and director Sullivan is not trying to make a serious horror with a plot like this that has people doing some really stupid things to put themselves in harm’s way. But the depths of stupidity the characters operate under is a little too much to swallow even if meant to have a comic edge. If you want to see death by accident and stupidity done right, watch Tucker And Dale vs. Evil. Throw in also that some of the dialog is really inane and the acting totally amateurish, doesn’t help the film either. Sometimes you can’t tell if some of the cast are taking this project seriously or not. The middle segment of the film when the blood really starts to flow and tensions rise between the remaining volunteers is the most solid bit of the flick, as the first third is mostly goofy dialog and where the hard to believe stupidity occurs. Once we get into the paranoia and panic, the film gets a bit easier to go along with, but then the film collapses with a really dumb and pointless conclusion where happenstance comes to haunt our survivors. Not to mention a completely inane scene involving a county sheriff that leaves one asking ‘WTF was that all about?’
Sure, I am amused by the concept that most of the blood shed…which is very nicely done with well rendered live effects…is by either stupidity or simple ironic fate, but it’s just a little too far-fetched to really make it work as a whole. We get some effective segments…again, in that middle third…but it’s bookend-ed by a goofy set-up and a random and pointless conclusion who’s coincidences and occurrences are a little too hard to believe…like being miles from home yet, one of the remaining group suddenly has their own car when they all arrived in the same van, really?…though I will admit, the final frames did bring a chuckle. Add to that, characters that seem a little too eccentric and stupid to even be considered for work with sharp objects and a director who seems far more interested with the filters and effects in his digital editing program than a more solid script and you get a movie that certainly has some amusing bits and gave a few solid laughs, but even when all is said and done is a little too dumb and pointless to go along with all the way.
An amusing 80 minutes to a degree and worth a look, but far from the new classic it was made out to be by early hype. Also stars Kurt Cole, Indiana Adams, Niko Red Star and Jeremy Vandermause. Bradley Scott Sullivan does show some potential if he comes up with a project with a tighter focus and a more solid story to tell.
2 and 1/2 chainsaws.