Fate is a dangerous mistress. I mean, I sure love the idea of fate - that certain things are just destiny and that we all have this unforeseen thing ahead of us that could be good or bad and we just have to catch up to it. But fate can bite you in the backside too, which leads us to tonight's movie - I Didn't Come Here To Die - which reminds us that bad things can happen when fate takes a wrong turn.
If you believe in fate, you probably know the effects that come when bad luck strikes someone around you. And that's kind of what this movie is all about - bad things happen, people get freaked out by the bad things, and then more bad things happen. And the cycle repeats. Which means that - when you're secluded in the woods with a bunch of chainsaws and axes and pointy branches - someone who gets a little shaky might make their own fate.
And so it comes to pass that I Didn't Come Here To Die puts six characters with six different backstories into the previously mentioned wooded setting, where their purpose as volunteer workers is to build a camp for inner city youth. Camps and woods are two things that set off cautionary bells and whistles in any horror fan's mind - a fact that surely didn't escape writer/director Bradley Scott Sullivan's mind - but that doesn't mean this is a run-of-the-mill backwoods horror film. In fact, I'd say that I Didn't Come Here To Die is a truly original and totally splattery crowd pleaser.
The first thing that caught my eye about the film was its attention to the characters. Though the opening of the film certainly sets them up as the kind of token characters many horror films use, Sullivan takes his time getting to the action and gives most of his cast members a chance to make their characters memorable. They don't all succeed entirely, but even the characters that don't hit the mark don't take anything away from the film.
More interesting, a couple of the characters show some interesting growth throughout the film. Though the most fun characters are probably the mousy Miranda (Madi Goff) who opens up after a few drinks and team leader Sophia (played by a statuesque, dark-haired, possible goddess named Emmy Robbin) who has survivor girl qualities, it's the ill-fated Danny (Kurt Cole) who had me most intrigued throughout the film. Early in the film he seems like he's that kinda gross guy, but was he starts to relay the disasters of his past, we start to feel really sorry for him. Heck, his story's so sad that Sophia almost has sex with him....and the fact that that falls through might be the worst tragedy of all for the kid.
Right around the time the breasts come out is when the blood starts to spray (don't worry, the two events are unrelated), and I Didn't Come Here to Die offers plenty of action in that regard. Though there is a bit of overkill at work in the film - the matters in which characters die are a bit horrendous - the film doesn't go over the top when it doesn't need to. Sullivan's moments of restraint certainly add to the shock effect of the things we do see, which really added to the fun of the proceedings. What is definitely the film's most exploitative scene is the most telegraphed gore moment in the film, but there's still a bit of suspense as we watch it unfold. Mr. Sullivan has recommended that his film is best with an audience, and I have to believe he's on to something there, because this scene of chainsaw mayhem should please any rowdy horror crowd.
I Didn't Come Here to Die makes us consider that there might be something supernatural going on in a few key scenes, but most of the film's tragedies seem like they might just be the result of dumb luck. But then again, maybe it is fate. After all, our preconceived notions of the horror genre have us convinced that these six folks are up against it from frame one. Thankfully, the folks behind I Didn't Come Here To Die have a lot of new tricks up their sleeves, and the result is one of the most fun splatter films I've seen in a long time. I Didn't Come Here To Die has come here to thrill you, and it has plenty of great assets - from its tricky kills to its fun characters to the beautiful Ms. Robbin - that should seal your fate.