Sam Was Here – aka Nemesis – is a 2016 French-American mystery horror thriller film co-produced and directed by Christophe Deroo, making his feature debut, from a screenplay co-written with Clement Tuffreau.
The Mojave Desert, California, 1998: A strange glow appears in the sky. Sam, a forty-something door-to-door salesman, travels through the few inhabited zones of the Californian desert in search of clients, yet everything seems deserted. What’s more, his wife won’t answer his calls. It’s as if everyone were avoiding him.
When his car breaks down, Sam becomes a prisoner of the empty, hostile environment. Alone and without human contact for days on end, he listens continuously to a talk-show on the only local radio station. The host, a man named Eddy, takes calls from listeners who share their thoughts on a child killer at large in the area.
At the same time, Sam starts getting psychologically harassed by strange threats he receives on his pager. Gradually, people begin to reappear and attempt to kill him. Sam has become a target and he must now defend himself. Little by little he loses it, caught up in a paranoid identity crisis. Is he truly the killer they’re after, or is he being driven to become so…
“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.” Matt Molgaard, Addicted to Horror Movies
“Was Sam simply stuck in some kind of Silent Hill-esque hell? I have no idea; there are a number of possibilities. If you like movies with zero explanations then this is certainly the one for you. Overall, Sam Was Here is an enjoyable ride but the ending & lack of understanding for pretty much everything leaves a bitter taste.” Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging Life
“If you only enjoy movies that explain everything in great detail, this film might not be for you. I personally enjoyed it and even though it would be possible to debate it at length, I have my own theory about what happened to Sam. I think he may be trapped in some kind of purgatory. It’s certainly the kind of film that can be interpreted in many different ways.” HorrorNews.net
” …this is a better film than it gets credit for. The desert landscapes are gorgeous, capturing the desolation and isolation perfectly. The camera moves with purpose, carefully drawing your attention to intriguing details or simply piquing your expectations before subverting them, while never making the interaction too obvious. The synth score is rich and pounding…” Dale Raulerson, Letterboxd
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