Come Back to Me is one strange, disjointed, and moderately compelling little movie. It isnt entirely successful, and at times it veers uncomfortably close to being unintentionally hilarious, but it sticks the landing and should interest viewers with a soft spot for deliberately paced, hard-to-categorize oddities.
It opens with an adolescent male overhearing an extremely violent domestic abuse incident in his home. His mother is attacked and, it seems, murdered. Flash forward to present day Las Vegas. A young couple, Josh (Matt Passmore) and Sarah (Katie Walder) introduce themselves to their new neighbor, Dale (Nathan Keyes). Dale is the boy from the beginning, all grown up, and immediately he is staring creepily at Sarah. Something is not right with him.
Josh and Sarah dont seem to notice Dales weird behavior. They have too many problems of their own. Josh is a croupier and works nights. Sarah is a student completing a doctorate on the societal effects of Internet pornography. They are tired and stressed most of the time. Compounding their issues is the fact that Sarah wants children sooner rather than later while Josh expresses reservations.
But none of those problems compares to the night terrors Sarah begins experiencing. They are incredibly vivid and increasingly intense. One (and there are many), involving Joshs murder and Sarahs abduction by an unseen assailant, is quite unsettling. Sarah is understandably freaked out. To say much more would be giving too much away.
Come Back to Me is similar to the work of Zack Parker, director of Scalene and Proxy. At least at first. Small cast, limited locations, mounting dread, a feeling of not knowing exactly whats going on or where things are going. Then it throws in some scenes that are borrowed from a highly successful franchise (one that viewers will immediately identify), and suddenly it shifts from the dramatic to, well, something else, and its a little awkward. Mixing genres isnt always smooth and easy and its a tad bumpy here.
There are a lot of clichés present as well. At one point Sarah walks into Dales home right after he leaves for work, and it plays out exactly like you think it will. Also, characters are always walking around in total darkness, even though danger is lurking around the corner and it would take a millisecond to turn on a light, something any rational person would do.
While its telegraphed from the start that Dale is up to no good, its doubtful anyone will be able to guess exactly what hes up to. The truth is pretty ridiculous, and it almost sinks the whole movie. It takes things far away from grounded drama and you cant help but find it somewhat silly. But just when you think its totally gone off the rails and cant be redeemed, Come Back to Me nails the ending.
The last minute or so is undeniably cool and a nifty coda to Dales actions. Much like the aforementioned Zack Parker flicks, it doesnt always work, but you have to admire it for attempting something different and unexpected.