Killer Kate! movie review
Killer Kate! is an interesting film. It’s got the right ingredients to be a capable invasion thriller that’s undercut by unnecessary and bad comedy.
After years of being estranged, Kate (Alexandra Feld) agrees to try and reconcile with her sister, Angie (Danielle Burgess). To ease the tension, Kate agrees to something simple — attending Angie’s bachelorette party. Kate joins Angie and her two bridesmaids Sara (Amaris Davidson) and Mel (Abby Eiland).
For a thriller, Killer Kate! works pretty well in the quiet intimate moments where the characters are just talking. Kate and Angie have some unresolved issues and the tension is just underneath the surface. Sara and Mel balance them out nicely with Sara’s cheery demeanor and Mel’s over it mentality.
The foursome travel to a bed and breakfast expecting a memorable time. None of them expect a family of killers to come gunning for them.
Their performances are far better than expected from this genre. It’s almost a given the performances are just going to be bad, but bachelorette part do a commendable job establishing their characters. I really enjoyed the dynamic of them playing off of each other. Given the premise you know not all of them are going to survive, but their deaths mean more in this case.
Frustratingly, screenwriters Daniel Moya and director Elliot Feld (Alexandra’s husband) decided to give nearly equal screen time to a psychotic family planning a mass murder. This family is played largely for laughs. They come off like a bumbling, squabbling group of amateur killers.
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Clueless killers isn’t necessarily the worst approach, but Elliot Feld opens the film with the family bickering about their murderous plans. The reveal that these calculating killers are really morons would have been so much effective after they initially bungle killing Kate’s crew.
Instead, Elliot Feld gives it away early and then constantly reinforces that they’re idiots. It also hurts that the murder family are comprised of the film’s weakest performers. Ironically the best comedy bit comes from a pizza delivery guy (Ashton Ruiz) who stumbles in the middle of the massacre.
Elliot Feld stages the suspense well as Kate and Sara start to wonder if they’re being watched. Camera angles give that perspective that someone is observing them and there’s some decent jump scares.
Given that the events in the film take place on Halloween, it was disappointing that the not-holiday wasn’t more prominent. It seemed like a missed opportunity to not have the killer family wearing costumes of some sort. Or at least throw in some touches to show that Halloween is occurring. There’s no decorations or anything to suggest this wasn’t taking place in September or November.
Pacing is another problem. There’s a point in Killer Kate! where it seems clear the time for long, in-depth conversations is over and it’s time for mayhem. Instead, there’s more of a stop and go where the adrenaline rush of the invasion slows down needlessly.
With some movies, the filmmakers just come off as clueless and have no chance of making their project work. That’s not the case with Killer Kate! as it seems more the filmmakers didn’t have enough confidence in themselves.
This has the framework of a very strong home invasion You’re Next type film. The protagonist performances are solid, the setup is fresh enough and even the family motive works. But the comedy holds it back from its full potential.
Rating: 6 out of 10