DVD Review – I Didn’t Come Here To Die (2010)

I Didn’t Come Here To Die, 2010

Written and Directed by Bradley Scott Sullivan
Starring Indiana Adams, Kurt Cole, Madi Goff, Niko Red Star and Emmy Robbin.

SYNOPSIS:

The story of six young volunteers working on a humanitarian project in the woods. Horrific accidents, rash decisions and the unpredictability of human nature leads them all to the same disturbing conclusion. Volunteer work can be a killer.

Having grown up a fan of the horror genre, I am willing to forgive a lot. I’ve sat through some bad movies and have forgiven them for their sins against filmmaking because there is at least some spark of good in them. However I appear to be one of the few people who didn’t forgive V/H/S earlier this year and I again am going to be in the minority that doesn’t forgive I Didn’t Come Here To Die. I’m sorry to say, but I hated it.

Made on what appears to be a budget of £5 and a packet of M&Ms, I Didn’t Come Here To Die tells a tale of a group of teenagers who go to the woods to work on a humanitarian project but strike bad lack when one of them has an accident that sparks a chain reaction which sends people over the edge of sanity and – in some cases – to an early grave.

I don’t want to focus on the look of the movie as the film’s low budget stature can’t be helped, but I would argue that if you can’t physically shoot a night scene, don’t write a script that requires them. Director Bradley Scott Sullivan appears to have shot the entire movie during daylight and then tried to fix this in post-production by adding urine-yellow filters to mark day time and dark-blue ones to signify night. This is incredibly off-putting and it just makes the movie look really weird and unnatural. Not only that, but Sullivan also felt the need to add in a grain effect on some shots, making the film look a mess because these filters and editing effects don’t add any weight to the story or production – it just makes it look it was edited for Youtube using Windows Movie Maker.

On top of that, the movie never truly explains why the things are happening. From what I can gather, the initial incident was nothing more than an accident and that the other deaths were accidents as a result. But Sullivan often shoots these scenes as if the woods themselves are causing the campers to act the way they are. If that is the case, we’re never given an explanation as to why they started to act that way they do but if it’s not, then Sullivan shot this with the wrong ideals. I felt so unsatisfied by the end credits because I felt like I’d only been given half a movie.

Furthermore, I Didn’t Come Here To Die suffers from what a lot of modern horror movies suffer from – bad characters. The horror genre has always been littered with bad people who get their comeuppance but modern horror writers seem to think that every character has to be a grade A arsehole or a complete moron. So you get the jock who thinks he’s cool because he’s breaking the camp’s rules by drinking and you have one character who thinks it’s a good idea to swing a chainsaw round like she’s Leatherface while not wearing protective head gear. I Didn’t Come Here To Die is less of a case of “teenagers caught in a series of unfortunate events” and more “natural selection doing its thing”. Ultimately, because the characters are so badly conceived, we don’t feel bad for them when they die and we don’t care if they survive.

As if it couldn’t get any worse, the pacing of the movie is horrendous. For a movie that is only 80 minutes long, we spend the first 20 introducing the cannon-fodder characters and are then given a 10-minute finale which features two characters (one of which gets his introduction in this scene) talking about backstory that holds no relevance to anything to the main plot. So what we’re left with is 90-minutes worth of story crammed into the remaining 50 making the film feel rushed and unfinished.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the movie. For a film with a very small budget, the practical effects are superb to the point where they look better than most big-budget efforts. The character may have been a moron, but her head caving in from a chainsaw was a really impressive effect. Other deaths also feature a really well-crafted mix of practical and CGI to create a movie that doesn’t take you out of the moment with fake looking visuals. Considering Sullivan did everything else wrong with I Didn’t Come Here To Die, he does deserve a lot of credit for at least getting this aspect right.

I love horror movies so it really annoys me when I watch a movie that is this bad. Certain aspects of I Didn’t Come Here To Die are quite good and the idea of a group of teenagers going insane through one unfortunate accident is actually kind of interesting, but the low-budget hampers the movie more than it really should. The pacing is awful, the characters are unlikeable, the execution of the story is beyond daft and there are too many post-production “fixes” that distract you from the movie. It’s an unbalanced mess that is only worth watching if you’re a gore hound.

Flickering Myth Rating: Film ★   / Movie ★ ★

Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth’s co-editor and the host of the Month in Review show for Flickering Myth’s Podcast Network. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.

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