Written and Directed by: Chris Sun
Starring: Christian Radford, Shaun Trainer and Alexis Fernandez
Reviewed by: Brett Gallman
They should have stayed at home.
Despite the title, Come and Get Me isn’t about a deadly game of hide and seek. Instead, it’s another cautionary rape/revenge tale warning against the perils of the Outback. If horror movies are any indication, you have about a 50/50 chance of either being devoured by a Great White or tortured by a sadistic maniac (in Roger Corman’s Maniac Shark, you would be attacked by a hybrid of both) if you journey to Australia. Come and Get Me is concerned with the latter, and it’s a particularly unpleasant offering from Down Under that’ll do no favors for its tourism industry.
Of course, in this case, “unpleasant” is probably meant as a compliment since it's intentionally bleak and disturbing. It follows the usual set found in these sort of the films: on the one side, there’s a quartet of girls having a night out on the town. In the other corner, a trio of psychopathic rapists who just got finished ambushing another pack of girls out in the countryside. With their bloodlust left unsatisfied, they head back into town, where the girls are in dire need of a ride home, and these guys are all too eager to oblige.
If you’re wondering if these gals missed the memo about not taking rides with creepy strangers, think again; the relatively novel “twist” here is that the girls was friends with one of the guys back in high school. He had a crush on her that she spurned, so this opens the door for some wrinkles in the plot (though an encounter that leaves this group’s old high school principal bludgeoned to death is a pretty good clue that it won’t end well). Unfortunately, the film isn’t all that interested in exploring these possibilities and is instead content to be an unrelentingly savage series of violence. Like many of its predecessors in this genre, Come and Get Me is more concerned with its visceral impact, an approach that translates to these guys acting (and speaking) abhorrently as they torture their victims. If Rob Zombie ever made an Australian travelogue, it'd probably look and sound a lot like this, as it's populated with hick-bros with limited vocabularies.
Maybe this sort of thing has just become old hat (which probably says more about me than the film), but Come and Get Me really has a lot of familiarity working against it. It doesn’t do much to step out of the shadow of the better films that preceded it, and, worse yet, it’s a little tedious since it doesn’t particularly build to its schlock; instead, it’s the type of movie that hammers you in the face early and often, so the effect becomes diluted pretty quickly, especially since the film often dips into different tones. Sometimes—such as when the guys sever a guy’s arm in agonizing fashion—it’s legitimately disturbing; however, other occasions are played in a more exploitative mode that almost asks viewers to revel in the proceedings (this would be the brief “revenge” portion the film has to offer). While Come and Get Me is never downright silly, it is often hard to take very seriously, mostly because it’s dealing with grating caricatures instead of actual characters.
Which is too bad since it’s an otherwise decent production. The budget is obviously pretty low, but director Chris Sun doesn’t push beyond his means. Most of the film is confined to a few locations, and he packs them with an ample amount of carnage. You probably wouldn’t refer to this as a straight slasher movie, but the effect is pretty much the same, as the effects become the central showcase. Sun and his crew really deliver here, as the gags are gruesome and raw (though there are times when you wish they’d sprung for more lighting so you could see them better). Even though some of the feats feel a little over the top, they aren’t played that way, so when one of the guys severs a girl’s head and uses it as a blunt object, it’s not as funny as it sounds. Generally, speaking Come and Get Me isn’t a barrel of laughs, which is why it’s odd when it climaxes with a punch-line and eventually gives in to the hoariest of all clichés. Basically, it completely embraces its status as a mindless, blood-soaked exploitation movie.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course; it just means that Come and Get Me doesn’t do much to separate itself from all the other movies hailing from this grand tradition. It is at least true to its Ozploitation roots for the most part since it’s very rough and tumble; Suns’s style brings an immediacy to the proceedings, and the movie is appropriately raw all the way around, right down to the acting, which is similarly unpolished but serviceable. Come and Get Me has had some success on the festival circuit in its native land, and Bloody Earth Films has secured its release on DVD in Region 1. Their disc is a fine offering, with a transfer that reflects the often dark, low-lit photography, and an adequate soundtrack. Extras include a commentary, interviews, a feature on the effects, some deleted scenes, and a collection of trailers for other Bloody Earth releases. All told, Come and Get Me is an adequate if not unremarkable low-budget offering; if nothing else, it’s a nice reminder that maybe you should avoid the Australian backwoods. Rent it!
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