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ATL FF Review: Killer Movie

May 3, 2009


“Don’t you know who I am?” Kaley Cuco and Paul Wesley star in Killer Movie.

A well acted film with a host of notable young stars, Killer Movie attempts to satirize the slasher film and reality TV genre, but never quite rises enough above the level of both to militantly ridicule. A small budget reality show replaces its director (N’Syncs J.C. Chazez) after the evil producer Lee (Cyia Batten) grows tired of his questions. In comes the hero of the film, Jake (Paul Wesley) with the promise from his agent (“Dark Knight” mayor Nestor Carbonell) that this will help his career get back on track.

Keeping the studios happy also means dealing with the awful Blanca (“Big Bang Theory’s” Kaley Cuoco). As Jake had been a production assistant on one of her earlier films, Blanca demands to be his p.a. to understand her upcoming role as a reality TV director. She will shadow Jake to get prepared for the role. What’s funny about this, off screen, is that Cuoco and Wesley had actually worked together previously on “8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter,” where she was the star and he had a two-show role.

The two arrive to join the rest of the crew in a podunk town with no cell phone service and where sports come before anything, even God to discover that a death has already occurred. Following the conventional horror style from “Scream,” a recognizable actress is killed off quickly. Leighton Meester of “Gossip Girl” is the girlfriend of the hockey hero that the reality show is following. When out turning off lights on the trails at her work, someone or something kills her but sets it up as an accident. The remainder of the film serves as a whodunit as the show must go on despite the death toll rising. When cameras are discovered that the crew didn’t place, the tables are turned on the crew. The irony is their show is being drastically destroyed all while they unwittingly are living out an entirely other reality show. Reality TV is something director Jeff Fisher knows well as former director of “Sorority Life,” “”The Simple Life,” and “The Real World Road Rules Challenge.” Not to mention Fisher also worked as a story editor for “Big Brother.”

An obvious affinity for the old “Scooby Doo” cartoon is apparent throughout the film, both in style of the crew as a team (Blanca is clearly a Daphne, etc) and in some of the language used including the famous “would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for you pesky…”. Those moments are laughable but never biting. But some of the sequences are actually quite scary enough to make for a few shocks. The murders themselves grow in intensity as is your typical slasher film. The killer is made fairly evident from the beginning, although I won’t give that away in case you miss it. But Fisher seems to be enjoying himself too much and taking the slasher concept too seriously to ever fully satirize it. On the other hand, the reality TV concept, he clearly makes social commentary on by the belief from “the crazy guy” that the TV show has brought death to their town. In a way, “reality” TV does just that. Bringing cheap gimmicks and even worse versions of “truth” edited to the screen, reality TV forever alters the state of being and kills the concept of truth. In that sense, Fisher succeeds at biting satire and the greatest irony is within the killer.

But, I wouldn’t go searching this film for deep meaning and true satire. I would go into this to enjoy a couple of hours of some recognizable TV stars follow through on your typical slasher fare, with an above average entertainment value thanks to Cuoco bringing her all to the grandiose diva role. If you get a message out of it, consider it a bonus. If you don’t, you haven’t really wasted your time.

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