Sam Was Here Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"
SAM WAS HERE (aka Nemesis) is a mysterious thriller/road movie that takes place in the naked sandy planes of the Mojave Desert in California. This one's an interesting flick. Quickly read the synopsis and it was immediately intrigued! It even read like a mystery, something that would mess with the viewer's head. And mess with my head it did! The plot is very vague. A lonely salesman by the name of Sam goes door-to-door in a mini-town in the Mojave Desert. Every place he visits seems vacant and every door he knocks on goes unanswered. He finds this strange at first but figures he's just in a town that he's having zero luck in selling anything. He makes calls to the company he works for and to his estranged wife, but his calls too go unanswered. So he kind of shrugs it off. As he drives around he listens to the only radio station that comes through and he keeps hearing the DJ talk about a murderer loose in their community. People continue calling in and talking about it. He doesn't think much of at first, that is until slowly he begins to realize he is on the receiving end of a vigilante manhunt that is happening in that town and all of the people who live there seem to think he is the killer. He not only has to figure out what is going on, but he also has to try and survive in order to get out of that crazy town. I have to say, this movie frustrated me exponentially by the end of it. There were WAY more questions than answers provided. After it ended I didn't know what to feel or think! Was Sam in fact the pedophile murderer that everyone seems to think he is? What is the identity of the radio DJ that kept riling everyone in that town up? If everyone in that town were so hell bent on seeking bloody vengeance upon Sam, why were all of the vigilantes wearing Halloween masks if they were just planning on killing him anyway? Why did his company send him to try and sell whatever he was selling, to a town out in the middle of nowhere that contained what looked like 20 people? And those are just the questions that popped into my head right off the bat. By the end I didn't know whether to feel a sense of satisfaction, or tragedy. Should I have cared about what happened to Sam? Don't get me wrong, there were some great choreographed action scenes, the suspense was palpable, the score was very 80's synth retro and composed by "Christine", which is funny because it's like something you could've heard in a John Carpenter movie (Ha! You see what I did there?) so musically it was very remnant of your classic 80's mystery thriller score. The flick had some pretty tight performances, but I also noticed some sloppy moments as well, nothing to necessarily get bent out of shape over though, that's just the nature of the beast. There was a moment where one shot focused way too hard on a particular object, and right away I thought, "Oh come on you know that object is going to be used at some point." And lo and behold, it was. No doubt there were definite Hitchcockian elements at play here though. I could sense that as I watched the movie. And yes, like some Hitchcock films, they could be ambiguous, like you wouldn't know Why something was happening to a character, or characters. But at least in his films you got a sense of some kind of closure. I felt no closure by the end. I was left hanging in the wind with a big list of questions that I knew would only go unanswered. But hey, I know there's a demographic out there for this film. And there may even be people would be really intrigued by a movie such as this one. Unfortunately for this movie lover, I was left unfulfilled and unsatisfied, but I would still recommend that if anyone out there runs into this film either on VOD or DVD, give it a whirl! Who knows, YOU may be able to decipher the movie and figure it all out - If that happens, please get in touch with me and you may have to explain things to me like I'm a 5 year old. For a film that was once a short, I think that would've been even more of an enigma than the feature is now.
Writers: Christophe Deroo, Clement Tuffreau
Director: Christophe Deroo
Starring: Rusty Joiner, Sigrid La Chapelle, Rhoda Pell, Hassan Galedary
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
How It Can Be Seen: Coming Soon!