Get My Gun is a grindhouse gem that tells a grueling tale of female empowerment and doesn’t hold back.
“Listen very carefully: get my gun and take my car to the park,” and with those opening words that kick off Get My Gun, madness is promptly in session as someone in a nun costume begins to dole out shotgun blasts. This makes for the very best sort of introductory scene that throws the audience right into this world and shows off how brutal of a ride this is going to be.
Get My Gun pulls from a number of classic grindhouse archetypes to fuel its disturbing story. There’s been a curious trend in recent years where the pulpy grindhouse genre has become an increasingly popular direction for horror. The genre has even been capable of showing people that it can work in an episodic capacity, like in SyFy’s Blood Drive. It’s a fun genre to explore, but it’s also one where it’s very easy to miss the mark and come across as sloppy. What makes Get My Gun such a success is that it leans into its grindhouse sensibilities when it needs to, but never to the detriment of the film. There’s a careful balancing of tone at play in Get My Gun that helps make this angry film work.
Director and co-writer, Brian Darwas, eases the audience into Amanda’s (Kate Hoffman) humble existence as a hotel maid. She leads a simple, dead-end life, but it’s one that’s her own and a stifling quicksand that she’s gradually pulling herself out from. Amanda gets by as a result of keeping her head down, but even after being cautious and having a smart set of rules in place, she still encounters some terrible luck. Amanda is left in the impossibly horrible situation of getting raped, left pregnant, and the future safety of her child is eventually placed in jeopardy.
Get My Gun is the grittiest, most fearless sort of revenge-filled exploitation fodder. It takes something like I Spit On Your Grave and mixes it together with L’Interieur and drenches it in grindhouse juice. Darwas puts to use that beautiful, faded ‘70s era filter that is so common to the exploitation genre. Everything helps effortlessly service the genre, right down to the film’s title cards, font, or the fact that it’s broken up into chapters. The music is another sublime detail and it’s full of retro synth-y goodness.
The film’s aggressive plot has plenty to get excited about, but the real triumph of this picture is Kate Hoffman’s extraordinary performance as Amanda. The character is legitimately charming and affable and it’s nice to just spend time with this character and see how she functions. A very effective job is done at highlighting Amanda’s cautious nature and her various support systems, which makes the devastating turn hit so much harder. Similarly, the transformation that Amanda goes through during this picture is handled beautifully by Hoffman. She does an impressive job at making Amanda feel both vulnerable and powerful.
Get My Gun has fun by juxtaposing the mundane monotony of Amanda’s drab, routine maid job to the extreme way in which her life is changed and the trauma that she experiences. “Chapter Two” of the film barrels ahead to Amanda now super pregnant and trying to get her life together again. While she’s now free of the danger of her rapist, a new threat begins to prey on Amanda in the form of Catherine, an affluent woman eager to adopt Amanda’s child. Amanda coming up against this gauntlet of dangers does a good job at illustrating how anyone is capable of dangers and that trusting strangers is never a smart move.
Right from Catherine’s first appearance she comes across as creepy, invasive, and just all around bad news. The film plays with whether Catherine’s connected to Amanda’s rape or just some crazy for other reasons altogether. It’s beautiful to see how the film juggles these new threats, which allows the story to evolve and feel fresh, rather than doubling down on the same one idea. Furthermore, it’s crazy to see how someone like Catherine can be even more intimidating than Amanda’s rapist. It opens the door towards what her story is and what sort of trauma she’s seen in her life. The film’s final act is a relentless attack that is seriously just as unnerving as L’Interieur, which is saying something. It’s just so frightening to watch this unstable woman terrorize someone that’s in the height of helplessness and dependency. It’s so, so upsetting and Get My Gun harnesses that energy and doesn’t let it go.
Get My Gun is such a fun ride where you’re really rooting for the lead to get their vengeance, as twisted as it may be. Nearly everything here is a delight, but it would have been nice to get a little more on Catherine and figure out what was going on with her. The lack of answers is also sort of the point. Life is random and it doesn’t always give you the full picture. This might not be the flashiest horror film of the season, but it should be mandatory viewing for any fan of compelling tales of revenge. Kate Hoffman’s excellent performance and Brian Darwas’ controlled directing help make Get My Gun a cult classic that shouldn’t fly under your radar.