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Rick McGrath [Film Festival 10.26.11] movie review horror thriller

Year: 2011
Directors: Jack Perez
Writers: Ryan Levin
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Rick McGrath
Rating: 8 out of 10

Some Guy Who Kills People is an absolute little gem of a story that for some reason has four basically very short, gratuitous, sorta funny slasher scenes. If they were replaced with, say, clean shootings, it wouldn’t really make any difference to the cutesy comedy/drama that remains, although we’d lose a lot of the very black humour the killings create. And trust me, that would be bad.

What we have with Some Guy Who Kills People is an oddball revenge story, with the hapless semi-hero, Ken Boyd, apparently knocking off members of his high school basketball team in order to show ‘em good for the mistreatment he suffered as a teen. Ken, a depressive who works at an ice cream store after being released from 10 years in a mental institution, lives at home with his acerbic mother, Ruth, and likes to draw violent comics in his mancave bedroom. Can he get any more suspicious?

The action is straightforward: guys start to die in horrible ways and slowly but surely the flimsy evidence begins to point to Ken, where it becomes more circumstantial. Now, while Ken is a twitchy, mumbling introvert totally lacking in self-confidence, the local sheriff is the exact opposite. He’s funny as hell! The first victim is killed with an axe to the head and left in his driveway. Cue the sheriff and deputy, who view the corpse and immediately engage in a series of pretty zany axe puns – “he looks like my axe wife”. Huh? This burst of banter repeats for every murder, to the point where you can’t wait for the next bully to buy it. Case in point: one of the bad guys has his head cut off. Cut to the police station where we see the back of the head on a desk and three cops staring at it. “It’s freaky how the eyes seem to follow you around the room”, one says, and they all move sideways to catch the effect. Hah. And there’s a zillion of them!

Balancing off all this psychotic behavior is Ken’s unfolding relationship with his newly-found young daughter, Amy, the result of a doomed week-long romance prior to his incarceration. She’s a smart little cutie who first scares, then charms Ken into entering the land of interpersonal relationships. That she doesn’t become maudlin or tilt all into sentimental melodrama is a function of writer Ryan Levin’s skill and the good taste of director Jack Perez. Levin, in fact, has written a dandy of a yarn. Exceptionally good dialogue, hilariously funny lines, compelling characters and an unforeseen ending all combine to make this an excellent script for the actors, all of whom take full advantage of the opportunity. Barry Bostwick is an amazing sheriff, a sort of really smart Leslie Nielsen who looks like Lloyd Bridges. He’s great, and almost steals the show from child actor Ariel Gade, who exhibits a naturalness and camera smarts far beyond her pre-teen perkiness. I expect to see much more of her in the future. It’s perhaps telling that the two characters are rarely in the same scene together.

Kevin Corrigan plays Ken, and his masterful, twitchy, eye-averting performance is limited only by the nerdy nothing of his role. He does, however, have an amazing number of head bobs and facial ticks, and loser that he is, you always have the feeling he’s holding a lot back. Regardless, nearly every scene he’s in is basically stolen by the other actors, even in the few scenes with his mom, played by the wonderful Karen Black. In fact, the temptation for Corrigan to juice up his miserableness for the camera must have been strong, but full kudos are deserved for keeping Ken the understated loser he is.

I liked Some Guy Who Kills People a lot. From the rather innocuous bullying that drives the plot – were these kids really bad enough to die for their slightly sadistic acts? – to the way way too smart small town sheriff, who quips his way to an improbable solution, this is Some Guy you should try to meet. Ultimately, it has a kind of Kurt Vonnegut wacky black humour charm that joyfully takes the darkness and blends it with enough light to whip up a kind of cinematic ice cream sundae… with blood on top.

Be sure to read quietearth's review of Some Guy Who Kills People

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