GET MY GUN
Firstly, I’d just like to say thank you to Co-Writer/Director, Brian Darwas for allowing me access to a secondary private screener of the Horror/Thriller/Drama, “Get My Gun” (also Co-Written by Jennifer Carchietta). Get My Gun centers on introvert motel cleaner, Amanda (played by Kate Hoffman), who after a serious attack, finds herself pregnant and out of a job. On the verge of motherhood, she contemplates giving the child up for adoption but encounters a stalker who will stop at nothing to get her hands on the unborn child. The film also stars Christy Casey, Rosanne Rubino and William Jousset.
I stumbled across an article and review for Get My Gun on fellow Horror news/reviews website, PopHorror.com and thought the film sounded interesting. Reviewer, Tori Danielle had caught it at a festival that I was unable to attend (geographically challenged here in Australia), but I was lucky enough to chase down Brian and enquire about a screener. After some initial technical difficulties I was still fortunate enough to receive a private link, so cheers Brian! Get My Gun is certainly high in production value compared to a lot of independent films. Much to my surprise, Darwas and Carchietta’s screenplay is quite a layered one, delving into topics like rape, pregnancy and issues of abandonment. It helped that I knew very little about the film prior, so the interesting twists and turns were something I never saw coming. It’s a tough subject matter but something as delicate as pregnancy, when a product of rape, makes for a meaningful examination. Mary Perrino’s cinematography is as crisp as it gets and the audio levels are warm in the mix. Everything is nicely framed and I particularly like the series of shots of the girls when they’re in the car. There’s a number of gentle tracking shots and a tight little montage of Amanda cleaning motel rooms, actively conveying the mundane flow of her week. Combine that with Darwas’s edit and slightly dulled color grading, in order to pay homage to the Exploitation/Grindhouse genre of film making, and you’ve got a really clean product.
Get My Gun opens with some really cool low-fi synth progressions and introduces an element of fusion as the score rolls on throughout the remainder of the film. The bass intensifies with a repetitive and unnerving pattern as Amanda finds herself set upon in one of the many motel rooms she’s tasked with cleaning. For mine, the pair of performances by Hoffman and Casey were among the best of any indie film of 2017. The two have a very natural chemistry, highlighted in the opening phase of their friendship in which they discuss their respective pasts. Everything flows so organically. Kate reminded me a lot of my cousin Cathy, even down to her mannerisms, so it made for an interesting, albeit slightly distracting watch (haha). She’s ultimately a good every day sort of person just trying to make a living and get by. I’d categorically classify the film as a slow-burn, it’s built around character and not so much its story. That said, when the violence does hit in the third act things get quite extreme and there’s a couple of cringe-worthy moments. At the end of the first act Amanda is left with a visual reminder of her attack, which is done so in an awful way. There’s some practical blood and a nice prosthetic piece applied to Hoffman’s stomach in order to depict the crazed climax. I made particular note of the last scene which reminded me of something out of “Frankenstein Created Bikers”, visceral but ultimately satisfying and perhaps the best kill in the film.
As I mentioned earlier, Get My Gun lags a little and is not without its down time as we wait for Amanda’s situation to further develop. While I enjoyed most of the score aside from the overhyped renegade punk music (something I don’t usually mind but was an assault on the senses here), I do feel like it’s rather excessive in terms of how much of the run time has score or background music accompanying it, leaving little room for it to breathe on its own. Perrino’s guilty of a few slight lapses in focus here and there as well, usually if there’s a fair amount of movement in the frame. When Rubino’s character “Catherine” entered the fold I was immediately engaged, and wanting to see how she’d figure into the second half of the film (given I hadn’t really read a full synopsis). After a couple of seemingly normal encounters in which Catherine interacts with Amanda, things start to appear more pre-determined than pregnant Amanda first thought. The viewer never really becomes privy to any of Catherine’s sources in regard to knowing the things about Amanda that she does. It makes the final act seem a little too convenient considering the location and such. The longer Rubino’s scenes went on the less I was convinced of her temperament and desperate antics. There’s a number of continuity related issues and plausibility factors during Get My Gun too. Amanda has a knife blade dragged across her skin at one stage but there’s no defining marks or blood shown. Trust me when I say knife blades are about the sharpest thing you can find (I work with them daily), if you slide them on skin they’ll penetrate the surface. Later, she takes the situation into her own hands, first guiding a knife up and down with her hand while it’s stuck in a door (not real smart). The surprise though is that she doesn’t cut her hand while attempting to do that, instead leaving it against the door to be pierced in the sequence that follows. If that’s not enough, she loses a severe amount of blood toward the end of the film, certainly enough to bleed out in real life (for those who’ve seen the film you’ll know the scene I’m referencing). Not only does a great portion of the cat and mouse game that ensues between the two women feel straight out of extreme French Horror film, “Inside” (Directed by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury), but it plays out in almost complete silence, which is beyond baffling. Hoffman and Rubino spend a chunk of that time face to face yet there’s no screaming or yelling, no real panic, no dialogue, nothing, and in turn, any suspense created earlier just fizzles out.
Brian Darwas and Jennifer Carchietta’s Exploitation inspired Horror/Thriller, Get My Gun is like a cross between the aforementioned “Inside” and the female teaming of “Girls Against Boys” with perhaps just a hint of Richard Griffin’s micro-budget indie, “Nun Of That”. The poster art pays wonderful homage to the genre and the production value is impressive for a film of this nature. This film making duo tackle some interesting themes with their screenplay and Mary’s high class cinematography kicks the film off on the right foot. Most of the score works well and the practical effects are serviceable, though I’d like to have seen some prosthetics further exaggerated, such as Amanda’s scar. The selling point of this one has to be Kate and Christy and their respective performances. I enjoyed watching both of their characters and ultimately cared about their fate. The sheer volume of music backing the film is a little heavy-handed at times and there’s the odd tech related inconsistency throughout. The pacing lags momentarily here and there, and sadly I couldn’t get behind Roseanne’s performance or “Catherine”. I found it extremely difficult to not draw comparisons to “Inside” (one of my favourite European films), and in that you had two extremely strong female characters and actresses and it just worked, I can’t say the same here. In this instance the silence kills most of the tension, that and there’s plenty of dramatic license taken with some of Amanda’s actions which I couldn’t completely swallow. Get My Gun remains a thoroughly entertaining Horror/Thriller with a memorable protagonist and a great lead performance. Fans of revenge fueled storytelling will be sure to enjoy this one, you can check the teaser trailer out below!
My rating for “Get My Gun” is 6/10