Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blogorium Review: Some Guy Who Kills People

 Some Guy Who Kills People threw me for a loop; it was playing at the Nevermore Film Festival, which leaned heavily in the direction of horror films. It was under those expectations that I sat down to watch the film, of which I knew nothing. I'd deliberately avoided looking at trailers or reading the synopsis on Nevermore's site and the Internet Movie Database, just as I had with Absentia. There are times when title artwork or general assumptions based on "indie" horror films can work against the actual quality of the film. In fact, we'll discuss the terrible cover art for Absentia in that review, but let's get back to Some Guy Who Kills People.

 The first thing you should know is that Some Guy Who Kills People isn't a horror movie. It shares some DNA with slasher films when it comes to the "Kills" part of the title: the murders are rather violent, the gore outlandish, even with a small body count. The film is, however, a black comedy that has more in common with a film like Heathers than, let's say, The Prowler. Now, if\ I'm willing to compare a film to Heathers favorably, you should have some idea that the genre switcheroo didn't bother me too much.

 That's not to say I wasn't a little lost at first - either I was distracted or just missed some critical introductory scene, but for the first ten minutes or so the Cap'n felt like I was behind the curve, narrative-wise. After a flashback / dream sequence where Ken Boyd (Kevin Corrigan) is being tortured by high school students, Boyd wakes up and realizes he's late for work. He arrives at the ice cream parlor where his boss Al Fooger (Lou Beatty Jr.) chastises him for being late and his buddy Irv (Leo Fitzpatrick) asks what's up. Ken doesn't say much, but he does get the luck of the draw and has to cater a birthday party for one of the guys who tortured him while Boyd wears an ice cream cone costume. He also meets Stephanie (Lucy Davis) before being recognized by the now adult terrorizer, and then the film cuts to said jerk being chased down and slaughtered with a knife.

 Now we do eventually learn that Ken tried to kill himself ten years before Some Guy Who Kills People takes place, and that he was in an asylum. He's working for Al because Irv helped him get the job, and Ken lives with his mother (Karen Black). Ken has a notebook he doesn't show anybody, mostly because he uses it to draw pictures of the horrible ways he's going to enact revenge on his tormentors. I was a little confused because some of the people who end up dying are played by younger actors in the flashbacks, but Corrigan seems to be the same age despite the fact that this happened when he was in high school. Anyway, you get past that quickly and move on to the "ah, he's going to be killing off these jerks while the police try to figure it out."

 Speaking of which, the Sheriff, Walt Fuller (Barry Bostwick), is a totally daffy sort of guy that finds the strangest things to fixate on while investigating crime scenes. After one guy is hacked to pieces in a drive-in parking lot, he asks his deputy if there's enough popcorn for both of them while they survey the carnage. He also seems to have total control over the Mayor (Ahmed "Jar Jar Binks" Best) and has an ongoing relationship with Ken's mother. The stage is set for a bizarre cat-and-mouse game between nutty killer and nuttier cop, and then writer Ryan Levin and director Jack Perez throw the kind of curveball that really makes Some Guy Who Kills People interesting: Ken has a daughter.

 Before going to the nuthouse, Ken knocked up Janet Wheeler (Janie Haddad), and now that he's out, his daughter Amy (Ariel Gade) runs into him by total coincidence. Boyd is in his ice cream suit again, being abused by passers-by and Amy helps him pick up flyers that nobody wants. When she discovers that guy is her father, she promptly decides to move in with Ken and his mother, who have no idea what to do with her. She's everything he isn't, it seems: she's a star basketball player, gets along with everybody, and recognizes immediately that Stephanie is into her dad in a big way. Of course, Ken has other plans, shall we say, and this unexpected intrusion into his scheme takes Some Guy Who Kills People in different directions.

 There are some more unexpected surprises, ones that I'd rather not spoil, so instead I'll talk about Kevin Corrigan, who anchors a world populated with people who all seem to be crazier than he is by being a total vacuum in the charisma department. He alternates between irritated and catatonic, revealing on one or two occasions that he was happier in the asylum because it had more structure than the "real" world. I'm not sure that Some Guy Who Kills People would be as entertaining if the main character didn't temper the lunacy of nearly every other character, and aside from Lucy Davis' Stephanie, Corrigan's Ken Boyd is ironically the most "normal" character, despite a predilection for brutal murder and antisocial leanings.

 In closing, I'd like to add how very surprised I was to learn that director Jack Perez went from making Wild Things 2, Monster Island, and Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus to Some Guy Who Kills People. I didn't see that coming; the film is light years of an improvement over those stinkers. Kudos to him. Also, while it's nice to see John Landis' name attached (even as producer) to this film, it did remind me that he recently directed Burke and Hare, which does not earn kudos. But I digress: check out Some Guy Who Kills People - it's right up your alley, providing you like movies with slightly askew logic.

No comments: