14 January 2011
Kill Theory 2009 - REVIEW
By mid-year, I usually have a list as long as my leg of films I want to see. Some I come across on my own and some I pick up from Twitter or Facebook. Occasionally I'm even surprised by a gem or two that comes up on Chiller TV. They are notorious for showing films that most channels just kick aside like a little homeless kitty. But it works out for them because I'm seeing their name and logo pop up more and more every day in the social networks. (Go Chiller!!) What I like best about Chiller is that their main focus is to shed some light on Indie Horror and I gotta say, "It's about fucking time someone did!" Because let's face it, that's where the good horror is coming from these days, not Hollywood.
Wow, I got off on a little rant there, my bad! My point was that somehow, some way, this one slipped by me. Which is strange, especially since it's an Afterdark Horrorfest 4 selection. I caught it on Chiller one night, recorded it and waited probably months to watch it. Again, my bad. "Normal" life tends to keep me too busy to be able to sit and watch films on a regular basis. I'll keep working on that.
A group of friends take off to a secluded vacation home to celebrate their upcoming graduation. The fun doesn't last long when a sadistic psychopath shows up and forces them to participate in his deadly contest. The rules are simple -- in order to survive they must kill each other. As tension builds, and relationships begin to crumble, they realize that only one can make it out alive. Could you trust your boyfriend? Your girlfriend? Your best friend? Only one can go home. So who will be the last man or woman standing?
Patrick J Flueger and Agnes Bruckner lead this 20 something cast of up and comers and I was pleasantly surprised by the performances from the whole bunch. I think their reactions to being in a kill or be killed situation were remarkably realistic. Personally, I think the most genuine and natural performance came from Daniel Franzese. He's portrayed as kind of the odd man out, the friend that we've all had in our lives at one point or another. The fun, chunky, lovable guy that everyone wants to be around. I predict Bruckner, whose been on my radar ever since I saw her in Venom a few years back, is going to have a very lucrative career in this genre. She just seems real to me, not to mention she's incredibly gorgeous! Pretty boy Flueger manages to hold his own as the level headed one of the bunch. His nice guy thing gets a little irritating at times but not so much that his character becomes unlikeable. I'm not a huge fan of Taryn Manning, could be because I haven't seen too many of her films. I liked her ok in The Breed and she did a decent job here too. We never see much of Kevin Gage but seriously, why do you even need to see him when you can just listen to him? He's got a voice that I will put right up there with Stephen McHattie and Lance Henriksen. It's like BUTTER! As for the rest of the cast, it wasn't anything spectacular but as a whole they appeared to play off each other well.
I don't know why it took me so long to figure out that it was Project Greenlight's Chris Moore who directed. That explains why it was done so well. Together with first time screenwriter Kelly Palmer they managed to create a shocking and unpredictable tale, which is rare these days. It's also not hard to tell that they were inspired by the Saw franchise with all the video tapes and traps but it's done in a subtle, classy way. It was well paced and had some extremely brutal kills but what really stood out for me was the psychological mind games the characters played on each other. It's enough to make you wonder what you would do in a situation like that or better yet, what would your friends do? Palmer obviously put a lot of thought into the script (it would be interesting to find out how many re-writes there were) there are some very interesting twists and turns. He also manages to do all this without the typical horror cliches. There is no big breasted virgin that finds her inner strength and defeats the bad guy and if you think you know who the last man standing is... think again.
Kill Theory was originally slated for a theatrical release from Lions Gate Films but instead went straight to DVD with a theatrical release only in Russia. Which is where my next complaint comes in. How can Lions Gate theatrically release shit fests like Disaster Movie but lock up a clearly superior film like it's an evil little step-child? It makes no sense to me whatsoever. Kill Theory is engrossing and entertaining and in my opinion with the right promotional campaign would've done just fine in theaters. It has a solid story line, it's well written, well directed and has some solid acting. I would definitely recommend it to someone looking for a taut psychological thriller.