Come Back to Me
Directed by Paul Leyden
Slight plot spoilers but NO ENDING SPOILERS
Hold the phone, alert the presses, a pig has grown wings and just flew past my head, I found a recent horror movie that I LIKE, I really like!! In fact - I watched Come Back to Me on a Friday night while my husband was out and when he got back I told him about it and we watched it together Saturday morning and HE liked it as well! (Normally we rip movies to shreds when we watch them together, haha.) This means, I watched this movie twice within a 24 hour time period and perhaps I have a fever but I'd actually watch it a third time.
Now granted, before I get too carried away, this isn't an Academy Award worthy picture, folks. In fact, there's nothing too special or over the top about it. It isn't exorbitantly freaky or disturbing or groundbreaking. It's a good 'ol fashioned tale of a lead female with anxiety stalked by the creeper next door with requisite long hair and smelly house. But it gets deeper and there's a twist at the end that is epic and I'm not gonna tell you what it is for once! However, all I will say is this, if you're a fan of happy endings, well, you're SOL on this one.
Our story opens with a teenage boy, Dale, sitting on the couch holding his pet rabbit and hearing his mom get murdered by his stepfather. Or so we are led to believe...
Flash forward about ten years and we meet our main character, Sarah, a late 20-something blonde generic cute girl, married to Josh, wanting to have a baby, writing her thesis on the effects of porn on relationships. Josh and Sarah notice Dale moving in across the street and bring him a plate of Rainbridge Farm cookies, which Dale creepily asks if they're homemade and then seems pissed off that they're not but accepts them anyway. We later see Dale working in the grocery store and helping Sarah load her groceries in her car, being as friendly as he possibly can while still looking and acting like a major creepo.
[Oh yeah and there are about five different scenarios in this movie where Dale eats cookies like a creep, all fast and maniacal, and that alone is worth the price of admission for the sheer WTF level of it all.]
We learn that Sarah had recently been in a bad car accident and had head trauma, resulting in insane night terrors where she sees Josh get killed, finds blood on her sweatshirt, wakes up in different rooms in the house, wakes up naked and smelling cleaning products, and all other varieties of strange scenarios. Her very pregnant friend and therapist, Leslie, tries to help Sarah through all of her issues while Dale lurks around every corner saying hi to Sarah every chance he can get.
Eventually, Sarah starts to get suspicious of Dale and sneaks into his house one day after he leaves for work. She finds an entire cabinet full of cookies and a box upstairs of keys. Turns out, Dale made an impression of Sarah's key the same day he loaded the groceries into her car and has been sneaking into her house every night. But what has he been doing? Suddenly maybe the night terrors aren't nightmares at all, but reality. We also learn that Sarah becomes pregnant but Josh shoots blanks, thus causing a giant rift in their marraige as he thinks she has been cheating on him and moves out to his buddy's house.
After months of frustration and fear she is losing her mind, Sarah sets up a smoke detector camera in her bedroom to get to the bottom of what exactly is happening during these night terrors/blackouts. What she finds is alarming. Dale has been sneaking into her house every night, tying her up, dancing with her in his arms, eating cookies, raping her, then slitting her throat. Yes, you read that right. Dale has been killing Sarah every night, BUT after cleaning up all the blood, before he leaves the room he breathes life back into her and all her wounds are healed yet she remembers nothing.
Our story comes to a grand conclusion when Sarah returns home prepared to shoot Dale, but finds he has tied up Josh and now their lives are in danger. Sarah must come up with a plan to get Dale out of their lives for good and let's just say it begins with a cookie date over a wine glass full of milk and ends with, well...I want so badly to spoil the last ten minutes of the movie because it gets EPIC but I will not because I feel this one is much more fun when you don't know what's coming. I'm also leaving out a couple of key scenes for brevity's sake, but let's just say they involve bunnies and babies.
Now, I learned after watching this that Come Back to Me is based on a novel, "The Ressurectionist" by Wrath James White, this BAMF right here:
Once again, I would definitely give Come Back to Me a high approval rating. Of course it has its cheesy moments and the lead actress is sometimes slightly insufferable with her over the top gasps and facial expressions and shrieking, but I can overlook this because of how well the other actors fit their roles and embody their characters and how this is one of those films where you know something is not quite right but you can't exactly figure out what's happening until it all just smacks you in the face. Dale is a complex character who does heinous things but you realize deep down inside he's an emotionally-stunted momma's boy with a power he didn't ask for and really has no idea what to do with and, man, he just really likes cookies and milk.
Come Back to Me will make you think twice about whether some of your nightmares are a little more real than you'd like to believe and also make you side-eye that one neighbor who always seems a little too interested in where you're going or what you're doing. And, hey, who doesn't love a horror movie that leaves you with a lingering sense of paranoia, am I right? Anyone...?