“The Scary Side of Randall Coombe” starts off as a dark comedy about a lifeless marriage and the fiendish plot to bring it back to life, but the funny stops about a half hour in and what we’re left with is a creepy look at a one-sided obsessive relationship.
Randall Coombe is a washed up carpet salesman with a marriage that’s in the shitter. He comes home to get bitched out by his frumpy looking wife, Primrose, and their sex life is well…Randall says it best himself, “disappointment murdered my prick decades ago.” While out and about on business, Randall sees a woman, Gabriella, who looks identical to his wife, except that she dresses better and generally carries herself in a more attractive manner. Obsessed with this better looking and gentler version of his wife, he follows her home and uses his carpet sales spiel to get through her door only to find that she’s married.
This is where the funny starts putting on the brakes, but doesn’t come to a complete stop. Randall pulls the old switch-a-roo with the two women, which sees his real wife floating dead in Gabriella’s pool and the abduction of Gabriella. Randall keeps Gabriella knocked out for a while, feeding her an experimental drug that induces amnesia. When she awakens, Gabriella is confused, not knowing where the hell she is, but not remembering her past life either. Meanwhile, Gabriella’s husband, who thinks that the dead woman in his pool is her, mourns the loss of his wife.
This is where the feature ceases to be funny and gets downright creepy as Randall tries to convince Gabriella that she has amnesia due to a car accident and that she is indeed his wife, Primrose Coombe. Gabriella’s uncertainty of the whole situation keeps her from seeking comfort in the arms of this strange man. And so the conflict ensues.
The first half of this film is nicely paced with decently developed characters and plot twists popping up at just the right time, but shortly after Randall captures his new wife, things get monotonous as we’re mostly stuck in the house with Gabriella for a good twenty minutes or so as this Randall creep tries to push a phony identity on her. Fortunately, things pick up as Randall takes Gabriella to Catalina for a new honeymoon. It’s there that Randall spots Gabriella’s real husband, drunk and bitter. Instead of hiding her away, Randall decides to parade Gabriella in front of her own husband, confusing the hell out of him. Kinda confused me, too.
I gotta admit, I was a little thrown off by the whole identical women debacle for most of the film. I realized that both women shared some of the same features, but they were dressed and made up so differently, that I didn’t really get an identical feel from them. I wasn’t even certain that it was the same actress (Szilvi Naray-Davey) playing both roles, who did a great job of doing so. So, I was just having problems believing that a guy would actually mistake some dead stranger in his pool for his wife.
Could’ve used more punch in the middle as well as the very ending, however “Randall Coombe” still stands as an interesting watch. If you weren’t afraid of stalkers before, you will be after seeing this.