'Come Back to Me': Film Review

Courtesy of Prodigy PR
A terrific premise is squandered in this ineffective horror film, which nonetheless has a truly disturbing climax.

A young woman experiences disturbing nightmares in Paul Leydon's horror film.

Horror movies often lend themselves exceedingly well to drinking games, and Come Back to Me is no exception. Drink a shot every time the central character in Paul Leyden’s debut feature wakes up gasping for breath after suffering a nightmare, and you’ll be sloshed in no time.

It’s an indication of the repetitiveness of the film based on Wrath James White’s novel The Resurrectionist—now that’s a good title—which squanders its genuinely creepy, intriguing premise with a lackluster execution. The material was perhaps too challenging for its tyro writer/director, whose primary credit is a near decade-long stint acting on the soap opera As the World Turns.

The story concerns young married couple Sarah (Katie Walder) and Josh (Matt Passmore of The Glades), living in suburban Las Vegas and struggling to survive on his income as a casino dealer while she’s finishing her thesis on internet pornography. After a car accident, Sarah begins experiencing a series of disturbing nightmares involving death and mutilation, with no apparent physical effects afterward.

Adding to the foreboding is the hovering presence of creepy next door neighbor Dale (Nathan Keyes), a supermarket bagger who’s taken an unhealthy interest in the beautiful Sarah. As the film’s opening scene illustrates, Dale is indeed troubled, having witnessed the murder of his mother as a child.

Things become even more complicated when Sarah discovers that she’s pregnant. She reveals the news to her less than thrilled husband, who promptly informs her that he’s sterile.

Having apparently watched a few too many Paranormal Activity movies, Sarah sets up a hidden camera which reveals the secret behind her nocturnal disturbances. Suffice it to say that it involves Dale’s supernatural powers that are hinted at in the book's, if not the film’s, title.

There’s a terrific central idea at the core of the film, but it’s lost amid the endlessly repeated nightmare episodes, the banal subplot concerning the couple’s domestic problems and the clunky exposition and visuals. On the plus side, there’s a very effective scene involving Sarah’s encounter with a figure from Dale’s past (Maura West, making a strong impression in a brief role), and the bravura climactic sequence is so startlingly horrifying that it nearly makes up for all the tedium that has come before.

Production: (Base Productions, Idiot Savant Pictures)

Cast: Matt Passmore, Katie Walder, Nathan Keyes, Laura Gordon, Maura West

Director/screenwriter: Paul Leyden

Producer: Anne Clements

Executive producer: Sergin Akyaz

Director of photography: Joseph White

Editor: Sherwood Jones

Costume designer: Jessica Shorten

Composer: Thomas Morse

Rated R, 96 min.