‘Sam Was Here’ is a Brutal Mindbender in a Desolate Realm (Review)
Directed by: Christophe Deroo
Cast: Rusty Joiner, Sigrid La Chapelle, Rhoda Pell
Sam’s a down on his luck, traveling salesman who, after some dreaded car troubles, finds himself deep in the scorching Mojave Desert. He’s doing all he can to get the hell out of the heat and into some comfy climate, but that entire notion changes the moment he sees a strange red light in the sky. It’s no natural phenomenon, and Sam knows it. Even more disconcerting, the longer the man remains trapped in this desolate area, the stranger things become. A slew of seemingly random and myopic occurrences unravel before the man’s eyes… but is it only a matter of time before Sam unravels?
With the man’s escalating troubles (the poor bastard undergoes just about every nightmare in the book) it’s hard to imagine him avoiding cracking up by the midway point of the film. We’ll see what kind of moxy this Sam fellow has.
Holding back the details of this lunacy is killing me. The entire film is one random mind bender, and poor Sam seems to absorb the brunt of everything that could possibly go wrong. And everything does go wrong. Everything, and a whole lot more.
But why? Why is this happening to Sam?
The plot details are over. If you want to know what becomes of Sam – who Sam is, you’re going to need to rent or purchase the film. It’s such a grim, bleak piece of work that it’s no doubt worth looking into. It may leave you feeling hopeless and filthy, but the picture’s technical refinement and the work of the cast completely negate any con you can point to in the film.
Sam Was Here may not be an outright genre film, but it’s going to fit the taste of most genre fanatics. It’s ugly as hell, and that’s an unorthodox quality that a lot of us weirdos have come to embrace with open arms.
Who killed Sam? I didn’t get the story.
Why his wife says my husband died 5 year a go?
This movie is another horror movie with no answers!like what is the red light in the sky? Who is eddy? Why did the woman say my husband died 5 years ago. Who were the masked people. Movie was fuckin awful don’t waste your time!
Okay, so a lot of people were confused by this movie and did not understand it, so I’ll try and explain it as best I can. Spoilers ahead! Everything that takes place from the start of the film until the end of the film, did happen in real life, but 5 years prior to Sam reliving those events throughout the film in this dreamlike state. 5 years before the film took place Sam was in this small town on business, he was staying at a motel when he assaulted a child and the child (a young girl) died as a result of this assault, it’s also revealed the girl was in a wheelchair, making her easy prey for a violent predator. Basically Sam was not a good person, he was a violent child molester turned serial killer, Sam kidnapped the girl from the gas station, he kills the gas station clerk by strangling him to death in the toilet stall, then proceeds to take the young girl back to the motel (The girl could not run away, she is in a wheelchair, presumed to be the gas station clerks daughter), at this point the girls body has been found and he is wanted for murder, as the entire small town has been alerted to Sam and what he did to the girl by Eddy via the radio station (again this actually happened in real life 5 years prior to the events of the film), he then proceeds by car to escape the town when his tires are shredded by a blockade setup by the local police officer, the officer proceeds to shoot and attempt to kill Sam, but he gets the jump on him and kills the officer, he then travels by foot to the old woman’s house and kills her and her two nephews, however at this point word of Sam and his killing spree has spread to enough of the town via Eddies radio show and guests commenting on the man hunt that the locals eventually ambush him, he’s then taken back to the motel in the room that he murdered/raped the young disabled girl and is beaten/drowned in a bath of acid by the locals. At the end of the film where you see the maid cleaning the blood of the shower curtains, this is real life, 5 years prior to the film and the town has gotten their revenge and cleaned up the mess. Throughout the film we see all of this take place in purgatory/hell, the red light in the sky symbolises that this is hell/purgatory not the real world, we see him at the gas station where he see’s the doll of the girl he murdered for the first time, where he initially encountered her and abducted her, we also see the gas clerk hiding in the stall on CCTV, where Sam murdered him in real life. We then see him at the motel where a room is boarded/chained and locked away from him, a metaphor for how he has locked the memories of what he did away in his mind. He then relives the events of the officer, the woman and the nephews, all the while being taunted by Eddy via the radio. The majority of the audio we hear from Eddy is real audio from 5 years prior when he really was being hunted by this small town, but Eddy in the purgatory/hell is simply the manifestation of the grim reaper/devil come to collect Sam’s soul, as Eddy can be seen as the one responsible for Sam’s capture/death. Eventually Sam is forced to come to terms with the reality of who he is and what he did and accept that he is dead, when he originally peers through a small hole/crack into the wall into the locked off motel room where the girl died, it’s a very small hole, at the end of the film however the hole is much larger showing him gradually coming to terms with his locked off memories and the hole to access those memories became larger. Sam was never innocent, he was never a good person, like the friend on the radio show says ‘I used to think he was a nice guy, a nice quiet guy, but knowing what I know now, looking back on it, it was in his eyes’. The old friend is a metaphor for the viewer at the start we think Sam is a nice, quiet guy.. But by the end of the film, knowing what we know and looking back on it, we can see Sam isn’t a good person. This is a movie about Sam coming to terms with his death, the fact that he is dead and accepting what he did, who he is and not denying it anymore. Because accepting he is a murderer, child molester also means accepting that he is dead. Once he accepts his fate at the end of the film, he relives the bath in battery acid the locals used to kill him and the reaper/devil/Eddy can finally claim his soul. When his wife over the phone to Eddy says ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about my husband has been dead for 5 years’, she isn’t actually sending this message into the afterlife we see at the end Eddy can match words and voices to form any sentences he likes, this is Eddy/the reaper using his wide’s voice to convey to him he can’t give his message to his wife, he has been dead and wandering purgatory for 5 years, this is also shown in the level of decay of the young girls corpse how long he has been trapped in limbo lying to himself and deluding himself into believing he isn’t a monster and he isn’t really dead.