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Come Back To Me

Before I begin this one, allow me to state the (possibly) obvious here: there are spoilers in this post. If you DO NOT want to know the twist ending of Come Back To Me, STOP READING NOW. You can check out one of these less-spoiler-y reviews instead: The Hollywood Reporter Review of Come Back To Me OR The New York Times Review of Come Back To Me.

If you’re a regular reader, you know that I hate everything. In terms of genres, I've been cultivating a particular hatred for zombies, exorcism, and found footage. Don’t get me wrong here - each has merits, but I’m tired of the overwhelming number of each currently available. Because these genres have exploded in popularity, many movies in each are poorly made attempts to capitalize on that popularity. Little thought is given to the quality of the story, the production, the writing, or the acting.

In the past few months I've developed a new hatred; paranormal, domestic abuse movies. Please imagine me rolling my eyes right now, as I write that… I wish that I made this shit up, but truth is, yet again, stupider than fiction.

This sub-genre actually isn’t a new thing: it's a hybrid of “thriller" and “haunting" genres - where the emotional elements of both, a high level of suspense and paranoia combined with a creeping sense of dread, are combined with a supernatural "spirit" (or ghost) playing the protagonist. One could actually argue that the paranormal domestic abuse movie is actually a contemporary take on traditional gothic tales. There seem to be a proliferation of these movies recently - perhaps goth is not dead, after all?...

As a point of reference here, in case you’re not sure if you’ve ever seen a paranormal domestic abuse film, some recent examples include Paranormal Activity and Oculus. In the past? The Amityville Horror and The Entity. I’m sure we can each think of plenty of others. You can read more about the genre here.

I may sound primarily flippant but here’s the thing, when executed well, these movies can be both compelling and disturbing. The idea that there is something terrible and destructive in your home - your sacred space - that cannot be seen AND wants to kill you is terrifying.

When done poorly though, these movies are as laughable as any lowest-emotional-common-denominator Lifetime movie. Come Back To Me falls somewhere in the middle of all that, playing more like a supernatural version of a Law and Order SVU episode than an actual movie. Which is unfortunate because the premise has promise.

A young boy watches his father murder his mother. Distraught, the boy wills her back to life. This great power discovered, he becomes a monster, killing and resurrecting his victims over and over again. Luckily for him, resurrected victims lose all memory of his killing them. As he grows into adulthood, his depth of perversion increases and he begins to rape his victims before killing them to shut them up. Our killer moves into a lovely suburban neighborhood and begins obsessing over one of his neighbors. This obsession turns into a cycle of rape, murder, and resurrection. When his victim discovers what's happening, she plans to kill him to end the cycle. Solid plan except that when she manages to do so, all of his past victims immediately die as well. The last 15 minutes of the movie are particularly shark-jumpy and are best forgotten. We call that a "double twist" ending, I suppose.

Watch this one if: you've got significant gaps in your memory and you don't believe in alien abductions. Also if you have a socially awkward neighbor who is too interested in your business.

You can watch the Come Back To Me trailer here:


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