AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2010
By Don Simpson | November 15, 2010
Director: Bradley Scott Sullivan
Writer(s): Bradley Scott Sullivan
Starring: Indiana Adams, Kurt Cole, Madi Goff, Travis Scott Newman, Niko Red Star, Emmy Robbin
Six young adults have volunteered (as Volunteers of American Generating Goodwill) to build a new campsite for under-privileged youth on 100 acres of recently donated land. A quick role call: VAGG team leader Sophia (Emmy Robin), Miranda (Madi Goff), Julie (Indiana Adams), Chris (Niko Red Star), Steve (Jeremy Scott Vandermause) and Danny (Kurt Cole). Of course they are way outside of cell phone reception (something it seems most modern horror films and thrillers must work into their plot nowadays) and a significant distance from any other human contact. This is virgin territory, so they must camp in tents with only the bare necessities. Most importantly, there are hard-fast rules (such no alcohol and no sex) for everyone’s safety, but once the rules begin to be broken everything goes to bloody freaking hell. By revealing the conclusion of the film at the onset, there is absolutely no question about the destiny of at least a couple of these characters…
For better or for worse, each character fits a very specific stereotype and seems predestined to fulfill a specific role in the narrative. Some of my biggest problems with I Didn’t Come Here To Die concern the awkward acting and cheesy dialog, but I totally understand that this is a throwback to the midnight B-horror films of the early 80s. (In other words, I think in the director’s eyes these are probably not valid faults; instead this was a conscious and purposeful stylistic decision.)
What I like most about I Didn’t Come Here To Die is the grainy 16mm aesthetics, the otherworldly electronic soundtrack and the eye-popping and side [of face] splitting gore effects. I also appreciate that even though we are informed that a young girl once died on this land (a red herring of sorts), there is nothing overtly supernatural about this horror film.
Director-writer-cinematographer Bradley Scott Sullivan’s I Didn’t Come Here To Die is mightily inspired by the countless 1980s horror/slasher films featuring a group of teenagers (or young adults) camping in the wilderness, as well as the Friday the 13th franchise. If you like that sort of thing, well you should definitely give I Didn’t Come Here To Die a try. I cannot claim that I Didn’t Come Here To Die is a great film, but I think it does what it intends to do quite well.