Since Sam Raimi unleashed Evil Dead in 1981, horror feature debuts are looked into quite a lot, especially lower budget offerings. It is off the back of films like Evil Dead that Bradley Scott Sullivan’s horror, I Didn’t Come Here To Die have come to be. There are many straight-to-disc horrors that fail and fail hard; The Butcher Brothers’ The Violent Kind is one such example. However you may well find yourself surprised by this conventional looking but rather different offering, that is far from brilliant but not bad at all.
Sullivan’s plotting is solid, with his very basic set-up that is played to the tone you expect but where he impresses is with the paranoia. The plot has been compared to Evil Dead and there are undercurrents but none that are too strong to read into. Instead this flick has a lot more in common with last year’s found footage film A Night in the Woods. The plot sets a course for a killer/stalker in the woods entry, in the vein of Friday the 13th but instead goes a different route. Using the power of character insecurity and inferiority complexes to create a schizo-horror, chock full of worried characters and violent consequences.
Sadly it does all start unraveling towards the end with a random police encounter and a baffling character appearance at the end. It may not all coherently progress but earlier inspired scenes of psychological horror ploys ensure this feels better than expected. The ending itself is overly ridiculous and all in all leaves you feeling as though the film ended at the right time (even though the running time is brisk at 77 minutes). Aiding the film though, are some excellent gore effects. One particular effect involving a chainsaw looks fantastic!
The performances are more of a mixed bag but still overall efficient. Kurt Cole is very solid in a leading position and actually convinces with his character’s tragic past. Niko Red Star overdoes it towards the end but in the character’s more restrained moments gives a good performance. The sexual chemistry between some of the male and female stars (Cole and Emmy Robbin, Indiana Adams and Star), as well as Madi Goff’s performance (as the political graduate), seems too overplayed. Still, there is enough dedication to make it work, in spite of a few bits of clunky dialogue and cliché. I Didn’t Come Here To Die is an effective horror that tries its hand at Grindhouse and it all mostly works, even if Sullivan rejigs the camera effects too much for his own good.
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