M.L. Miller here! Welcome horror fans to my Annual countdown of the Best of the Best in Horror! Running every day through October, this list will culminate with the best horror film of the year announced on October 31st. Some of these films can be found in theaters—others have unfortunately only seen the light of day On Demand, DVD, BluRay, or digital download. I’ve tried to indicate in the reviews how you can watch and enjoy these films yourselves. I’ll also provide a “Worth Noting” secondary film suggestion in a separate post. These are films that stood out or just missed being on the list by a skosh—a little extra for those who can’t get enough horror.
How did I compile this list? I simply looked through films released between October 1st 2018 and September 30, 2019 and worked and reworked the list until I had the magic number, 31. This countdown is not for the elitists or festival goers, so if the film hasn’t been released to the masses, it won’t be on the list. Also anything released this October will most likely be on next year’s list—so sorry, no films like DOCTOR SLEEP or ZOMBIELAND 2 just yet.
I hope you’ll join me daily and don’t forget to like and share my picks with your pals across the web on your own personal social media. Chime in after the review and let me know what you think of the film, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, or most importantly, come up with your own darn list…let’s go!
#4 GET MY GUN
Technically GET MY GUN was released in September of 2018, but I didn’t see it until it was released almost a year later on Shudder on August 12, 2019. So I’m including it in this year’s countdown, ok? The other reason I’m including it is because this is a fucking rad movie! It’s unpredictable and dangerous, never holding back on the violence and gore and allowing you to get to know a truly likable lead character though some of her worst experiences. Below is my review for the truly excellent GET MY GUN! Available on SHUDDER!
GET MY GUN (2017)
Directed by Brian Darwas
Written by Brian Darwas, Jennifer Carchietta
Starring Kate Hoffman, Rosanne Rubino, Christy Casey, William Jousset, Jacqueline Guillen, Wayne Gurman, Katherine Getz, Rew Starr, Daisy Hooks
GET MY GUN is an infectiously likable film. I know that’s a weird thing to say about a rape/revenge story, but nevertheless, that’s what it is. This is mainly due to the punchy timeline filmmaker Brian Darwas plays with and the fantastic lead performance by Kate Hoffman. I’m not a big fan of the rape/revenge subgenre as I feel many of these styles of films glorify the heinous attack on a woman and then tries to make up for it by focusing on an equally or more gross revenge on the attacker. That said, there are a few entries into this subgenre that transcend it and come out as wholly unique films despite the fact that a rape occurs in the. Last year’s pulse-pounding survival film REVENGE is one of them. GET MY GUN is another for completely different reasons.
Amanda (Kate Hoffman) is a headstrong gal aimlessly working as a maid at a hotel and dreams to doing anything else. The biggest thrill of her week is training the new girl so that she might have someone at work she can commiserate with. Amanda’s life is turned upside down and inside out after she is assaulted by a man in one of the rooms she is cleaning and finds out later she has become pregnant with his child. Now Amanda is faced with the predicament of keeping the child or giving it up for adoption. Flash forward to after the child is born and Amanda happens across the man who assaulted her, giving Amanda the opportunity to enact the revenge she has been carrying all of this time.
GET MY GUN is the PULP FICTION of rape/revenge films. The film plays with the timeline so that we are introduced to Amanda and the man who assaulted her before we even know anything about their past history. Even before the credits, we see Amanda happen upon the man and then there is a hint at the horrors that have happened to Amanda and the horrors to come. We then jump back in time to see what exactly happened between Amanda and this man. Then there’s a middle chapter where Amanda toys with the idea that she might give the child up for adoption. This takes place before the opening sequence as well. Finally, the third chapter takes us back to where we begun and shows Amanda taking revenge on this man who assaulted her. By playing with the timeline, it automatically answers some questions that might be nagging if this film was told in a straight-forward and more conventional fashion. But this film is anything but conventional and that’s part of the appeal. By shuffling around the timeline, it highlights everything but the rape itself. In fact, while it is a reprehensible act, it is not the worst thing that occurs in this film. In many ways, the film represents the way Amanda is trying to cope with the rape afterwards; first acting as if it was not a big deal, then coming to grips with the horrible thing that has happened to her, and finally trying to come to peace with it only to have that peace shattered after a happenstance meeting. It’s a thorough and well thought out progression, written in both a symbolic way structurally and a satisfying way emotionally. Plainly put, it’s just smart, intuitive writing from start to finish.
Supporting that strong writing is the infectiously likable Kate Hoffman as Amanda. There’s an instant likability factor with her right from the beginning. She’s quirky, ironic, sarcastic, kind of an asshole. She’s trying to be confident and strong despite the shitty hand she has been dealt in life. Then this rape happens on top of everything else. And THEN the real crazy shit happens. There is a line late in the movie where Amanda screams in frustration “How is this my fucking life!?!” that resonates to much as a completely human thing to say in the crazy situation she finds herself in. It’s such a real moment and something that felt genuine and uncommon in most scripted films. At that point in the film, things have gone from crazy to batshit and it’s the perfect beat said in the most perfect of ways.
GET MY GUN is a violent and gory film. Again, this is not because of the rape, which is a scene that occurs quickly and then moves on from it. It doesn’t linger on this film for too long, yet long enough to show how scarring it is for our main character. There is no fetishization of the act itself. The horror movie really starts after the rape and Amanda attempts to get on with her life. Just as things start to settle down, that’s when the insanity starts. And this is over the top craziness. I don’t want to be specific, but the horrors Amanda endures in the latter portion of this film are out of this world. It’s the kind of action and horror that make you forget about the rape and realize that there are equally bad horrors out there for her to face. The way this film shifts gears and then back again and then back in the other direction makes it utterly unpredictable and infectiously followable. I did not want this film to end as I enjoyed seeing Amanda take on all kinds of obstacles with the same type of gumption you see in film heroines like Ellen Ripley and Laurie Strode.
If there’s a criticism here, I think that there are some decisions in the middle chapter than effects one character that seem to stretch the realm of possibility in the world this film has created. Yes, it appears most of the people in this film can endure quite a bit of bodily harm before dying, but the wounds one character receives look pretty fatal, yet the character inexplicably is alive later on. I also think that the opening sequence revealed a little too much, specifically since there is a question as to whether or not Amanda wants to keep the baby. I think there could have been some ways to keep the decision vague and retain the mystery. My last complaint is that I wanted more. I wanted to follow Amanda and her fucked up life into another movie. This film is too addictive for its own good.
I know recommending a rape/revenge film is a hard sell, but trust me. This film is so much more than just that. It’s high stakes adventure, over the top gore, twisted villainy, and utter acts of heroism. Everyone involved with GET MY GUN should be proud of this film that transcends the subgenre it will be pigeonholed into and ultimately becomes a film that is uncategorizable. There is no way to predict what happens in GET MY GUN. It’s a film full of shocks, surprises, twists, and mindfucks. Heed my words. Don’t miss GET MY GUN!
THE COUNTDOWN SO FAR…
#4 – GET MY GUN
M. L. Miller is a wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of MLMILLERWRITES.COM. Follow @Mark_L_Miller.
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