Wednesday, August 11, 2010

'Kill Them and Eat Them':
Low-budget horror with a classic feel

Kill Them and Eat Them (2005)
Starring: Sandy MacDonald, Richard Archer, Francoise Snobel, Lloyd Cameron, Hugh Gibson, and Wil van der Zyl
Director: Conall Pendergast
Steve's Rating: Four of Ten Stars

When a geneticist nicknamed "Dr. Gore" (MacDonald) goes renegade, two incompetent corporate security agents (Gibson and van der Zyl) track him down to stop his mad experiments. Unfortunately, Dr. Gore and his psychopathic assistant (Archer) have been turning homeless people into bizarre, flesh-eating mutants. Will our hapless heroes be able to save the day, or will they be the next test subjects for Dr. Gore?

"Kill Them and Eat Them" is a unique film that offers an interesting viewing experience. And when I say "unique" and "Interesting", I mean it in both good and bad ways.

On the one one hand, it is painfully amateurish, filmed with what must have been Camcorders and probably funded with whatever spare change the cast and crew could find between couch cushions in their homes. The acting is inconsistent by everyone who appears--each actor has a few decent scenes, but they are negated by ones where they are awful beyond description--and the story seems to unfold in a random and haphazard fashion. While some creativity went into designing the creatures, the extreme lack of funding for this film is also evident in them. When this movie is at its weakest, it is very, very bad. Strange, but bad.

On the other hand, there's a sort of wild, creative energy that runs through this whole production the likes of which I've rarely come across outside a few low-budget films from the 1930s and 1940s. When the actors are at their best, the lines they speak and their delivery of them reminds me of those old horror flicks as well. There's also a intentional sense of the absurd about the whole movie, and, to top it off, the climax is a monster slapfest the likes of which hasn't been seen since the Spanish horror flicks of the 1970s. During its high points, the film comes across like a homage to the old fashioned mad scientist movies.

The classical low-budget horror flick air about "Kill Them and Eat Them", plus the fact it's pretty funny (intentionally so) at times, went a long way to helping me forgive its many of its flaws.

(Flaws I can't forgive are the scenes with bad sound, and those that seem to be in the film for no reason other than to pad the run-time. I really wish low-budget filmmakers would stop thinking the microphone on the Camcorder is good enough when it comes to making a movie... and for crap's sake, filmmakers, if you think your movie is running short, WRITE SOME MORE SCENES. Don't pad it with shots of actors wandering through the woods, or repetitive and/or unnecessary establishing shots.)

While I would hardly describe this as a good movie, I don't regret spending time watching it. I think that Conall Pendergast shows a talent for screen-writing that many of this contemporaries do not. I think that if some more time and effort had gone into polishing the script, and if Pendergast had been a little more realistic in the sort of film he could make with the resources at his disposal (the monsters really did require a bit more money to look good... and the same can be said for the lab of the mad scientists, although Pendergast had a funny in-movie reference that took care of that, even if it came a bit too late) I think he might be able to turn out a funny movie. If he sticks with the script-writing, he might be pretty good some day.

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