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  Killer Party Celebrate, Eliminate
Year: 2018
Director: Chris von Hoffmann
Stars: Sam Strike, Virginia Gardner, Brandon Micheal Hall, Kian Lawley, Erin Moriarty, Robin Tunney, Julian McMahon, Chester Rushing, Jamie Ward, Lance Reddick, Diego Bonita, Sofía Castro, Bill Engval, Mickey Gooch Jr, Howard Charles, Logan Huffman
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Casper (Sam Strike), Iris (Virginia Gardner) and Dodge (Brandon Micheal Hall) are a trio of young criminals who have devised a scam to rob various rich folks' houses with their smart - but not too smart - heists, experience teaching them what to look for and how to break into safes by working out the codes to unlock them. However, Casper is now in over his head with a local gangster who owns a strip club, he has kidnapped Casper's father and is subjecting him to torture - he will murder him if the young man won't pay back a rather large debt he owes, which is why the three of them pose as waiting staff in this expensive mansion tonight. But all is not what it seems...

Killer Party was in fact Monster Party, as it was originally named in its native United States, a low budget horror that picked up momentum as it went, so after a slow beginning it found its groove as a slasher runaround. It was the debut feature of writer and director Chris von Hoffman, whose own experience stretched to a number of short works, and it was clear he was interested in cinematic violence judging by the gusto he went about parting these characters from various body parts, or slicing and dicing them with whatever their antagonists had to hand. Nevertheless, you had to wait what seemed like too long for all of this mayhem to be brought to fruition.

And the first victim was an unwelcome throwback to the grand old days of the slasher-crazed cinema of the eighties too, in that the black guy was the man who was getting murdered: von Hoffman didn't even have the decency to bump him off further into the slaughter, if he really had to bump him off at all. Maybe this was a sarcastic commentary on the clichés of the past, but it didn't look that self-aware from the surface, and there was a lot of surface here, it didn't go too deep into themes despite what appeared to be a light commentary on class, and the rich's exploitation of the poor. This aspect merely came across as an excuse to depict a particular brand of asshole.

Therefore if you were seeking a socially conscious horror to pass the time between sequels to The Purge, then this would do up to a point, but the impression was that makeup effects aside, Killer Party was not getting to grips with its potential. Part of that was likely budget-related, there's only so much you can do once you've rented out your locations one assumed, but there was an impression of a missed opportunity, especially from a horror out of the United States of the late twenty-tens where you imagine some filmmakers could let their imaginations run riot, and not merely with the fake blood. Its premise was farfetched, but then, a lot of what was hitting the news media was farfetched as well, those were the times the world was going through at the stage this was released.

That plot was also fairly simple, high concept if you will, where the three criminals infiltrate said mansion where simply standing with a tray of drinks can make you part of the furniture. But what's this? Why does one guest mouth "help me!" as she walks through the door? Could it be we were in Most Dangerous Game territory for the umpteenth time? Sort of, as the wealthy guests and hosts are revealed to be recovering murderers, compared to recovering alcoholics in a semi-jokey fashion, and you know what that means, yes, it's only a matter of time before their baser instincts kick in and the carnage begins. Said carnage putting a little spin on things with such ideas as a deformed maniac in the basement, like something out of a different vintage chiller, so von Hoffman was at least versed in his genre. Once it got going, this was fairly decent, depending on how bloodthirsty you were, yet like Don't Breathe it suffered because its protagonists were not exactly great people in the first place. Music by Felix Erskine.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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