9:17 PM | Reviews, Some Guy Who Kills People with 1 comments »
Some Guy Who Kills People was not at all what I was expecting. Actually, it was not what the advertising would lead you to believe it is. What we have here is a failure to properly market a movie. From the title Some Guy Who Kills People, I was expecting a horror comedy. So far, so good. The cover features an everyman looking dude holding a machete. From that I’m expecting it to be heavy on the horror. Then, I read the synopsis …
“At first glance, Ken Boyd may seem like an average comic enthusiast, living with his mother and working to make ends meet as an underpaid, underappreciated ice cream parlor attendant. But Ken has a dirty little secret: he fantasizes about killing people. After being released from a stay in the loony bin, for severe mental trauma suffered when he was beaten and tortured by a gang of high school thugs, Ken’s repressed anger suddenly reaches a boiling point. With gleeful enthusiasm Ken hunts down his tormentors, one by one, and exacts his bloody revenge.”
…and thought I was in for a gruesome good time. Torture? Bloody Revenge? Loony Bin? Nothing about that doesn’t say “violent horror flick with a black comedic side.” Well folks, if you’re looking for your horror fix, look elsewhere. You know what’s not even mentioned once in that synopsis? The main storyline of the movie, that’s what. Some Guy Who Kills People is actually a schmaltzy “daughter enters man’s life and teaches him to feel again” flick with a subplot about a serial killer. Without the language and sporadic dashes of blood, this could be something that the Hallmark Channel would show on Halloween weekend. That’s all well and good, there’s probably a market for that, but I think I would have enjoyed this flick more, or at least not have been disappointed, if Anchor Bay had been up front about what they were releasing. Instead, it exists in a difficult middle ground where there may be a little too much horror for it to be a straight comedy, but there’s not enough for it to satisfy the horror demographic.
Don’t get me wrong; there were some really good things about this flick. Actually, there are some great things about this flick. Chiefly among them is the acting. The casting director did a phenomenal job. Kevin Corrigan is very good as Ken. It could have been a classic performance had this flick, and his character, had more bite. An interesting bit of trivia; he was an altar boy in The Exorcist 3. Ariel Gade plays his daughter Amy. She’s a good little actress, but if those “plucky, precocious little scamp” characters easily annoy you, you might not dig her. Her character does have some phenomenal lines though. Keep an eye on her as she gets older, she could evolve into something special. Lucy Davis, best known to horror fans as Dianne in Shaun of the Dead (the blueprint of how to do horror comedy right), is fun as Ken’s awkward love interest.
The two best performances, and the best parts of the whole movie, come courtesy of two veterans, Karen Black and Barry Bostwick. Miss Black brings her voluptuous horror (I couldn’t resist that reference) to the role of Ken’s mother, and she shows herself to be a master of pitch black (no pun intended) humor. She delivers some really biting lines with the most lovably bitchy demeanor imaginable. It’s like she took a lesson from her House of 1000 Corpses family member Captain Spaulding on how to be a complete prick in a hilarious way. Barry Bostwick lights up the screen whenever he’s on it and had me rolling. You can tell that he’s having fun chewing the scenery here as the sheriff, and, like Black, his delivery upgrades funny lines to absolutely hysterical. I loved his character, and he saved this flick for me. I guess maybe Brad isn’t such an asshole after all.
Whereas those two characters are pure comedy gold, the rest of the flick is a bizarre mixture of the current indie “comedy of the mundane and awkward” style and almost Disney-esque “Father and Daughter get to know each other” mushiness. The writer, Ryan A Levin, gets a lot of credit for some snappy dialog and some absolutely classic one-liners. Unfortunately, however, he let the trite sentimentality overpower the story. Had Ken’s revenge and the mystery regarding the final twist been front and center, the mawkishness of Ken and Amy’s story would have been easier to swallow. As far as the horror aspects of the story go, they’re pretty weak. For a movie where a serial killer is integral to the plot, it never gets dark enough to really sell it. For the most part the gore is of the “throw a bucket of blood at the wall and watch it splatter” variety. We get a decent severed head, but that’s about it. The film never even really attempts any scares. It only gets slightly suspenseful at the film’s climax, and then the scene is ruined by the only shaky cam nonsense in the whole movie.
As pissed as I am at Anchor Bay for selling this as a horrific black comedy and delivering a touching family story that’s a “gray comedy” at best instead, they do deliver on the extras. The commentary is engaging, the making of featurette is more in depth than a lot I’ve seen, and they include the short that inspired the feature. If you are lucky enough to have access to promotional materials, they also made an ice cream scoop that has the logo on it. I’m a sucker for promotional items that actually tie in to the movie.
I know what you’re thinking; “Nathan, you sure were hard on this flick.” That may be true. I’m picky about my comedies, and I like my horror horrific. If we’ve learned anything from classic horror comedies like Shaun of the Dead, Evil Dead 2, Serbian Film, Night of the Creeps, Return of the Living Dead, Cannibal Holocaust, Dead Alive, and so on, it’s that you have to deliver on both sides of the coin. What Some Guy Who Kills People did was try to add a third dimension, a sweet family story. In the end, it proved to be a detriment to both the horror and the comedy. I can think of one situation this movie would be absolutely perfect for, though. Lets say you have a significant other that’s not into horror and they want to watch something heartwarming. This would be a perfect choice. There is some horror here, so it will be a lot more palatable than some of the stuff he/she might pick. Use it as a preemptive strike against a romantic comedy. Just tell her that it was way too “touching” for the Son of Celluloid. That should do the trick.
Some Guy Who Kills People won’t scratch your horror itch, but it will tickle your funny bone here and there. I’ll give it one severed thumb up because Black and Bostwick are so freakin’ funny. Nathan says check it out.