It should be noted that Get My Gun is a rape-revenge, pure and simple. It’s important that you go into this film with that knowledge, just so there are no unwanted surprises. You’ll thank me later.
Rape-revenge films are generally divided into three acts, or—in the case of Get my Gun— chapters. The first act shows the events leading up to the actual rape, while the second act is about the main character’s rehabilitation from the traumatic experience. The third act concludes with them successfully exacting their revenge, usually by having their aggressor murdered.
Director Brian Darwas, having only directed documentaries and music videos, wanted to switch up this formula for his fictional debut. Get My Gun opens with Chapter Three: Amanda (Kate Hoffman) is at a playground, dressed in a nun’s veil and dress, pushing her infant daughter on the swing. She recognizes a man raking leaves nearby, and leaves to make a phone call, telling the person on the other line to “get my gun.” She goes to her car and (poorly) pretends to need help loading something into her trunk. The man notices her struggling and creepily offers to help. This gives Amanda an opportunity to get her shotgun from the backseat and tell the man to “get in the fucking trunk or I turn your face into hamburger meat.” The credits roll in a grindhouse style as Amanda drives away. Her plans are underway.
But before we get to see her revenge, we backtrack to Chapter One: Amanda is in normal street clothes, getting ready for her boring job as a housekeeper at a sleazy motel. The motel is frequented by creepy men and the prostitutes they hire, and it’s up to Amanda to clean up the messes they leave behind. But Amanda doesn’t mind, she’s even addicted to cleaning, as she explains while training the new girl, Rebecca (Christy Casey). The two become friends and agree to carpool to work together (an excuse to listen to punk rock while in Rebecca’s car).
As they clean from room to room, Amanda and Rebecca try to add fun to their mundane tasks by playing pranks on each other. They take turns removing the “do not disturb” signs off the door handles of the other girl’s designated room, causing them to walk in on male clients in the middle of their business. But this goes horribly wrong when Amanda walks in a presumably empty room to discover that it’s occupied by the same man from the top of the movie.
I always feel uncomfortable whenever I see violence against women on the screen. I can watch men being butchered on repeat without batting an eye, but when a character is being targeted simply because she is a woman, it’s a completely different feeling. I don’t think anyone enjoys watching a rape scene, but it’s still a necessary evil; it frames a harsh reality for many women. I knew that this scene would inevitably come, but I was still dreading having to watch it nonetheless.
Normally rape scenes have a gradual build; they start with the man playfully flirting, followed by the woman politely rejecting his advances, prompting an aggressive reaction from the man who won’t take “no” for an answer. In this scene, however, things escalate rather quickly when the man grabs Amanda and threatens her with a box cutter. The act itself is not as graphic as, say, I Spit On Your Grave, but I still found it unnerving to watch. The camera pans away from the action and does a 360 shot of the motel room. All you can hear is the minimalist background music and Amanda’s muffled crying. After the fact, she still gets cut in the cheek, Joker-style. To add salt to the wound, Amanda is fired for not wanting to go into work the next day. On her birthday no less.
Chapter Two reveals that Amanda was impregnated from the rape. Initially thinking that she could come to terms with what happened to her if she kept the baby, Amanda realizes she would feel better if she were to give it up for adoption once its born. She arranges to meet an interested candidate after reading a Craigslist ad (probably not the best place to look for adoptive parents). Dr. Catherine Gildan (Rosanne Rubino) appears to be the perfect potential mother, but something feels off about her. Her enthusiasm and generosity is welcome at first, but becomes overbearing when Catherine calls Amanda at all hours to check on her. Amanda eventually changes her mind when she discovers that Catherine has been going through her mail. But Catherine is not willing to let go of the baby that easily. Amanda soon learns that she has bigger problems to deal with than rapists.
In stressful situations, Amanda still manages to act calm and focused, even when she’s covered in blood. This can be either out of shock or having encountered her fair share of traumatic experiences. At times, I didn’t find this believable, having seen so many horror movies where characters make stupid decisions in a state of panic. At some point, all the stress finally catches up to Amanda as she screams “how is this my life?” in frustration.
There are a few noticeable plot holes between Chapters Two and Three. It’s never revealed why Amanda is dressed as a nun in the final act. Has she converted to a life of faith, or is it just a disguise? I highly doubt it’s the former, since she’s still in the pursuit of revenge. I was also confused to see certain characters miraculously recovered from their seemingly fatal wounds. That’s what truly broke the realism for me. The final fulfilment of revenge is sweet, but not as satisfying as I had hoped. You can tell it’s not very satisfying for Amanda either, as there’s no major change in her facial expression as the closing credits scroll up. Overall, Get My Gun should be viewed as a throwback to gritty exploitation movies, where a solid story is not all that important. It’s the action that counts.
Get My Gun made its world premiere at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.