Sunday, October 9, 2011

Killage, The (2011) - 3/5

Although crafting a satire on slasher films isn't new (it fell to new lows with "Shriek"), it can still be presented in such a way to earn its own merits as both a comedy and a horror film. This Australian slasher satire, as if you couldn't tell it be one from its rather cleverly silly title, is hit and miss all around though occasionally dredging up some legitimate laughs with its ridiculousness only to fall prey to the wishy-washy cast and sometimes too basic jokes.

A group of young men and women, all of cliche personalities ranging from the Goth girl to a beefed up knuckle head that goes by the name Jock, are off to a work retreat to figure out who in the new company has the stamina to be team leader. Unfortunately for this group of dim-witted campers, one of them happens to be a murderous psychopath. Which one of them is the killer? Is it the forlorn heroine? The nerdy photographer? The stoner? Can the mystery be solved in time before everyone gets knocked off in creative ways? Is this too many questions?

Often enough, "The Killage" does exactly what it needs to for the satire on slashers to work. Our group is perfectly by the numbers, the kills are clever but ridiculous enough to earn some laughs (a woman is killed with dental floss and an electric toothbrush), and the plot moves in ways one often recognizes as basic slasher premises. In this way, this Australian indie film succeeds in spades. It's delightful in many of the asinine conversations and off beat re-occurring concepts (including a nude joke with the Jock character that never seems to end - which is part of why it works so well) and many of the cast members play it up as much as possible, selling it. It's hard not to claim that I didn't laugh my ass off at many moments, including an incorporated parakeet riff that pops up in the most random spots.

Beyond the basics though, "The Killage" suffers a bit. As fans of slasher satires, we've been spoiled with films like "Scary Movie" and "Scream" who push the boundaries of the idea to new areas catering to their audience with unrelenting grace. Even though I admire that "The Killage" was unafraid to be offensive in many ways with its odd gore and stereotypes, it could have pushed it further. Take out some of the serious undertones towards the end, throw in some quips, quotes, and homages to classic slashers and it would have done it perfectly. It has the foundations down, but some more details that let us know that they know what they are talking about in its slasher/comedy and it would have nailed a home run.

All in all, "The Killage" is a hilarious time for those willing to pull back their horror pretensions for the sake of a few ridiculous laughs. Not quite as tight in writing or executions as some others that take the idea running, but its often silly enough to evoke the joy that we get out of B-grade slashers.

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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