Imagine having the ability to bring dead people back to life. Sounds pretty cool, right? Maybe you would save murder victims, sick children, or even resuscitate your dead grandmother. Nothing like that happens though in the recently released horror flick, Come Back to Me, written and directed by Paul Leyden. Instead, the theme of resurrection takes on a more sinister tone, to say the least.
Based on The Resurrectionist, written by Wrath James White, the film starts grimly with a teenager named Dale, hugging his pet rabbit as he listens in fear to the sounds of his mother’s boyfriend savagely beating her. The cops are called, the boyfriend runs off, and the amount of blood covering the walls of her room suggest that she is dying…but does she?
With no conclusive answer, the film flashes forward to a grown-up Dale (Nathan Keyes) moving into a nice neighborhood, somewhere in sunny, suburban Las Vegas. Not at all the obvious setting for a horror movie. Still, creepy people can live anywhere and new neighbor Dale is creepy right from the start, with his intense questioning of whether the cookies that neighbors Sarah (Katie Walder) and Josh (Matt Passmore) deliver as a friendly welcome-to-the-neighborhood gesture are really homemade.
But neither Sarah or Josh initially give him much thought, since pretty much right after he moves in, Sarah starts having what her doctor, also her best friend, Leslie (Laura Gordon) diagnoses as night terrors, horrible nightmares that she wakes up from in a panic, with no memory of what she even dreamed.
Not only that, she also has no memory of how she got into bed or changed clothes, and she keeps finding strange cuts on her body. And with Josh often working nights at a casino, he can’t provide much in the way of answers.
The only time she gets a reprieve from her nightmares is when she and Josh spend a romantic week away in a luxury hotel – only to have them return immediately upon being back home. While Leslie initially chalked up the night terrors as part of Sarah’s recovery from a traumatic car crash she had several months prior, she wisely suggests installing a camera to see if Sarah can garner any clues about what is triggering the nightmares.
Interspersed between all the drama concerning night terrors, for Josh and Sarah there is also the issue of starting a family. Sarah wants kids, while Josh has conveniently kept secret the fact that he only shoots blanks. So, when it is discovered that Sarah is somehow pregnant, Josh leaves altogether.
All alone in the house, Sarah eventually – although not nearly as soon after the suggestion as I would have done it – does install a hidden camera. And, thanks to found footage, viewers get to finally find out the disturbing truth about what has been happening to her each night. It seems that Dale has been making nightly visits to assault, rape, and kill her – and then bring her back to life. Yes, kill her.
As viewers will discover, Dale is blessed with the amazing ability to resurrect people, and has used it to rape, kill, and revive many women. He’s also disturbingly obsessed with Sarah, as evidenced by a scene showing all his kitchen cabinets filled with the same brand of store bought cookies she and Josh gave him at the beginning of the movie.
Completely shocked, Sarah doesn’t know what to make of the situation, other than that she has a video of Dale slashing her throat, plus a sneaking suspicion that the baby she’s carrying isn’t Josh’s. From that point forward, the film follows Sarah’s quest to find out the truth about Dale, and put a stop to him once and for all – a move that doesn’t go quite as planned.
There is a twist at the end of the movie, one that I didn’t expect but enjoyed, nevertheless. I only wish that the energy it injected into the film had arrived a little sooner. While Come Back to Me is definitely both intriguing and unique, I won’t say that it is particularly riveting. There’s a lot of questioning of Sarah’s dreams, but not a lot of action. Still, the storyline piqued enough curiosity in me to keep watching, even if I did wish the movie would hurry itself along at times.
The recurring night terrors make for the easy addition of some truly frightening scenes, yet it was hard at times to distinguish which scenes were parts of a dream and which were actually happening. I also think the movie could have benefited from a little more character stability on the part of Sarah. A PhD student working on her dissertation, she seems to yo-yo too much between super smart and weepy basket case. Understandable to a degree, but also somewhat nerve grating.
So, the bottom line is that I enjoyed Come Back to Me, but I wouldn’t watch it again. It’s not a bad film and definitely a decent effort on Leyden’s part, it just falls a little short in some areas. Still, if you like a movie with a surprise at the end, this one really does deliver in that aspect.
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