JWR Articles: Film/DVD - Kill (Directors/Writers: Chad Archibald, Philip Carrer) - July 29, 2012


3.5 3.5
90 min.

How do I love thee?

With non-stop carnage from horrific dismemberment, movie theatre slaughter, BBQ deadly mayhem, to embattled states murdering their own citizenry, a viewing of Chad Archibald’s and Philip Carrer’s Kill adds something to the discussion and understanding of the motivation behind these horrific acts.

The premise is simple: six individuals (three of each sex) wake up dressed in funny-farm white. They have never met one another before. Pictures of their significant others are chillingly present. The festively decorated house is a living jail where it’s always midnight (until the final act) and the only way out is through a happy-face door, but its key will only allow one person to pass through it provided the other five “contestants” in this game of life and death are dead. What would you do if faced with such a desperate situation knowing that your future happiness and that of your spouse (also under house arrest elsewhere, it seems) depended on being the last one standing?

At first, everything seems a bit silly, predictable and contrived. What passes for dialogue is pretty much on par with the acting skill sets. Yet before too long, cinematographer Martin Buzora’s predominantly headshot approach, coupled with the marvellously named Sonica Disturbia’s ominous, low-decibel score, viewers’ minds will fill in the increasingly gory blanks with their imaginations, saving the producers a bundle and building at least enough tension to keep on watching.

An unexpected payoff comes when the artistic trust plays the aboriginal card which takes the subtext into darkly coloured territory, providing an entirely believable impetus for the home team (the victims are as white as their outfits). Meanwhile, the away group’s collective nerve begins to falter as it becomes clear this game is no practical joke. A bit of bullying and j’accuse (surely one of their number must be on the inside) gradually sets the table for the inevitable cat fights and false bravado to come. In a wry, rare morsel of humour, a different sort of Black Knight hilariously gets his chocolate cake covered chops gently wiped while still in full regalia. Those with a taste and hope for young, nubile flesh will be somewhat disappointed with the set-piece shower scene (how curious again that all manner of ugly violence is purposely splashed across the screen but a perfectly natural, beautiful body remains under wraps).

Mind altering drugs also have their turn in the narrative mix, providing still another metaphor for real-time, 21st century evil-inducing “inspiration.”

Finally, as more and more blood is spilled and the combatants dwindle away to the inevitable two, the sudden realization that when it dawns on anyone (whether cold sober or addled with booze and/or drugs) that there is inescapably no way out—kindled by sexual orientation, loss of self-esteem, sullied honour, lack of power or bankruptcy—then the human ability to inflict grievous harm can be ignited despite all moral or societal consequences. Just pick up today’s paper to discover the next instance of that awful truth. JWR

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