Review: Horrorfest 10 – KILL THEORY
After Jason, Michael Meyer, and Freddy Kruger, should we add â€˜Deranged Climberâ€™ to the pantheon of great horror characters? No, but KILL THEORY is a solid new stalk and slash film from director Chris Moore that, while never coming close to breaking any new ground, manages to generate more than its share of suspense and is a decent way to kill 84 minutes. It may be “by-the-numbers”, but itâ€™s obviously made by people who know what makes slasher films work, which it does and I appreciated itâ€™s lack of gimmickry. The â€˜kill theoryâ€™ of the title is all about the natural human instinct to survive, but thatâ€™s just an excuse to set up a row of attractive young actors to die horribly, which they do.
KILL THEORY opens up with a psychiatrist interviewing a soon-to-be-released mental patient (we only hear his voice) about a mountain-climbing accident which killed his friends and left him the sole survivor. The â€˜deranged climberâ€™ (as a news headline humorously declares him) had to cut his three friends away from a rappelling rope in order to save his own skin. To me this incident seems little more than an unavoidable accident really, but thatâ€™s all KILL THEORY offers as justification for the killing spree to come, so we have to take it. Cut to a group of eight attractive college kids gathering at a remote vacation home. Beer, BBQ, sex, and fun is what they have in mind and so thatâ€™s how they begin their party weekend. After some bland expository, they suddenly find themselves forced to play a deadly game of survival by â€˜Deranged Climberâ€™, who informs them that by 6am, if one of them is alive, that person goes free, but if more than one is still standing, heâ€™ll kill them all. The killer, who communicates with the group through left-behind audio recordings and has set booby traps about the property, sits back and watches the fun begin as his victims turns on each other.
KILL THEORY is saddled with the usual horror conventions and the characters arenâ€™t developed any deeper than those in your typical FRIDAY THE 13TH sequel. The actingâ€™s not bad but, except for one chubby whiner, the victims are basically interchangeable and no one stands out. Kevin Gage, a charismatic actor who was the best thing about CHAOS, plays â€˜Deranged Climberâ€™, but heâ€™s barely a presence and his unremarkable appearance is revealed only at the very end. The victims arenâ€™t very interesting and the set-up goes on too long but once these friends start knocking each other off, the film becomes entertaining enough in its own unambitious way. Despite KILL THEORYâ€™s short running time there are long stretches comprised of screaming confrontations about love triangles and fidelity which seem like a waste of time when thereâ€™s a psycho killer outside leaving giant bear traps on the lawn. Much of the dialog is indulgent psychobabble about how weâ€™re all killers deep down, but the script is far from the filmâ€™s strong suit and it doesnâ€™t get too bogged down before moving on the next kill set-piece, and thatâ€™s where KILL THEORY offers genuine bloody scares and solid suspense. There is a twist at the end that reveals weak motive, but KILL THEORY is simply an exercise in fright and is all about the deaths. Director Chris Moore, best known as Ben Affleck and Matt Damonâ€™s producer buddy on the â€˜Project Green Lightâ€™ show has made a stylish first film and Iâ€™ll look forward to seeing what he can do in the future if he gets to tackle a good script.