2010 After Dark Horrorfest: Kill Theory (2009)
Here we are again. Another After Dark Horrorfest 2010 flick and it’s becoming apparent that this year’s lineup (with the exception of Dread, so far) is no better than the previous years’. Like so many before it Kill Theory begins with an interesting premise that gets pissed away through shitty execution.
Our story begins in a psychiatric hospital where Walter (played by Kevin Gage) is having a session with his shrink Dr. Truftin (played by Don McManus). Let me take a moment and talk about Mr. Gage: Kevin Gage was in the absolutely dreadful 2008 crap-fest Amusement, which actually made my “Top 20 Worst Films of the Decade” (see complete list here). But he also had a starring role in 2009’s awesome slasher flick Laid to Rest and he played bad guys in such big-budgeters as Heat (1995) and Con Air (1997). My advice to Mr. Gage is to choose your flicks with a more critical eye. When you’re good in a movie (like Laid to Rest) you’re awesome, but the bad ones tarnish you more. Lucky for Gage he doesn’t get too much screen time in Kill Theory.
Anyway … so Walter is having a session with Dr. Truftin about his release. It seems Walter was a mountain climber who was out one time with two of his friends. There was an accident and all three were hanging from the same rope (Walter was at the top) which was breaking from all the weight. So he had to make a fast decision: Either they all die or he could cut the rope and his friends would die but he’d live. He cut the rope and has had a hard time coming to grips with his decision. It’s never actually made clear, but I would assume that Walter was in the nut house because he had a breakdown about the choice he made. But the movie makes it sound like he was in there because he murdered his friends. Hhmmm; seems to me a first year law student could get those charges dropped. But Walter is convinced that anyone in a similar situation would make the same choice as he did. The good doctor doesn’t think so. The doc, who’s character is a self-promoting asshole-schmuck who is putting golf balls during their session, doesn’t agree with Walter and is using him for the topic of a new book. If you hated the Dr. Loomis character in Zombie’s Halloween 2 then don’t even bother seeing this. Dr. Truftin is a hundred times worse!!
Writer Kelly Palmer seems at first to create an interesting killer who’s both complex and deep; but almost immediately she turns Walter into a formulaic Saw-like killer who goes over the edge as soon as he’s released and targets the first group of 20-somethings in order to test his “Kill Theory”. Excuse me while I yawn. Every character here is a broad-stroke having no depth and you really don’t give a shit about what happens to anyone involved. We join our 20-somethings in a remote cabin in the woods for a weekend of partying. We get to “meet” with each character as they interact with each other around the dinner table. Then after a hard night of drinking they all retire to their bedrooms and Walter wastes no time in testing his theory. He forces one of the girls to make a choice; he puts a gun in her hand and tells her she can either kill her sleeping boyfriend or be killed herself thereby saving his life. She dies to save him and we thereby lose the only likeable character in this entire flick. When the initial panic of the group is over he tells them (via walkie talkie) that they all have until 6am to make a choice. Either they can start killing each other until there is only one left or they can all be alive at 6am and he will kill them himself. It was about here that I just stopped caring.
Let’s put aside the bad acting and huge plot holes; these are pretty much givens in After Dark flicks. The main problem here is that the situation Walter created to prove his “kill theory” is not the same as the situation he was in on that mountain. Walter thinks he’s proving that deep down inside “everyone’s a killer.” But he’s not proving this at all. Walter wasn’t forced at gun point to either kill his friends or be killed; his was an organic situation that no one created except for Fate. The only thing he’s proving here is that people will kill when there’s a gun pressed against their heads and they have absolutely no option. This is very poorly written and is an obvious rehash of the fantastic movie The Killing Gene (2007), which works on every level. Theory, on the other hand, utterly fails due to poor writing and even worse execution.
The 20-somethings immediately break down, succumbing to paranoia and distrust and start killing each other faster than a broad on Jenny Craig pounces on the last piece of cake. Speaking of “Jenny Craig”; if I had to listen to that fat fuck Freddy (played by Daniel Franzese) whining and crying for one more second I was gonna blow my head off. Seriously people, Freddy is the most annoying character I’ve seen in a very long time. And I’ve never seen so many people get shot in the stomachs and just kind of brush it off. Freddy shoots one dude in the gut standing about 5 feet away and the guy just gets up and stabs Freddy (thank you for that by the way). There are a few others in the cast who take stomach wounds and don’t seem to be affected at all. We get a couple of decent gore f/x (the shovel death scene was gooey and fun), but not enough to recommend this one.
Mercifully this movie ends at 82 minutes and we learn why Walter chose this group of 20-somethings: Because one of the kids was the son of the asshole shrink from the beginning. Wow what an amazing twist. First time director Chris Moore does manage to make the ending suspenseful but by that point you’ve completely stopped caring. This movie has such an interesting premise that is completely pissed away by very poor writing, horrible dialogue, stupid characters doing dumb things, and terrible execution. I’m assuming we won’t be seeing too much more of Kelly Palmer after this craptacular mess.
Sorry if I sound mean here people but I’m getting tired of these way-below average genre flicks getting undeserved attention while a movie such as The Killing Gene, which was obviously the influence for this flick, gets no publicity and is a hundred times better. Shame on you After Dark; you once again have lowered the bar. Skip this one.
Director: Chris Moore
Plot: 2 out of 5 stars
Gore: 4.5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains (I don’t even think a zombie could have made this one any better)
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer