Directed by Peter Poulos and Matthew Santia, the latter of the two co-writing it with Todd Calvin De Pew, If I Can’t Have You… is a comedy horror/thriller held together by spirited acting. It can be silly, it can be nonsensical, it can be very dark, but it is always entertaining.
The story surrounds psychotherapist Diane (Tennille Taraszkiewicz) and the people in her life, both personally and professionally. We have the likes of her slasher-obsessed sister Barb (Mandy Logsdon) who thinks Diane should be always-prepared for a horror movie style scenario. Especially as she currently has a stalker, an ex-patient.
Then there is Austin (Brian Boynton), a new patient who wants to make their relationship more personal but is dealing with his own issues, and Diane’s son. Who is about to be released from prison after serving 10 years inside for killing his father.
With all of this, it’s something of a miracle that Diane is as well-adjusted as she is. However, the darkness in her past is about to run headfirst into the looming darkness of her future. Everyone seems to have the best intentions for Diane, but do they really?
A well-structured blend of comedy, horror and thrills. If I Can’t Have You… rides on the performances of its cast and each actor knocks it out of the park. It’s from them, their dry senses of humour mixed with over-the-top caricatures, that we get such a quality spectacle. Where likability (for most) is at an all-time high and when villainous intent enters the movie, it’s all too easy to boo and hiss.
Story-wise, it doesn’t always make a lot of sense and jumps around in an off-beat and irreverent way, but eventually all the pieces fit together satisfyingly enough. The tone shifts constantly. One moment, you’re chuckling at the silliness and then in another, you’re grim-faced at the distasteful and dark turn the film has taken.
Such a dichotomy could prove to be a turnoff but If I Can’t Have You… doesn’t do it just to shock. It’s all part of an over-arching tale that plays out naturally and surrounds characters that feel lived. Almost as though it’s a sequel and this is a beloved series of movies. Well, Star Wars did it and look how well that turned out?
It’s not a movie that is going to appeal to everyone. It’s just a little bit too weird. However, if you like a good combination of comedy and thrills, with a cast playing their roles with gusto, If I Can’t Have You… certainly delivers.
If I Can't Have You... (2022)
The Final Score - 7/10