Over the last ten years or so there has been a major paradigm shift in the entertainment industry. On the television side of the business what is marketed as reality TV has taken over the plethora of cable stations. In the world of cinema the default genre is rapidly becoming horror, more specifically slash and dash spatter flick. There is usually a downside to this phenomena; a backlash making the currently popular genres into the lamentable punch lines to a sizable number of jokes. Since I feel this new direction to be a serious degradation on both formats I am all for any vehicle that pokes fun at this new direction in entertainment. One movie managed to hold both bad horror flicks and predicable reality shows up to well deserved ridicule; ‘Killer Movie’. okay, right up front in the spirit of full disclosure this is not the kind of flick that will ever find inclusion in any ‘Best of’ lists but I found myself laughing a good deal of the time and that is the purpose of any comedy. Horror has been blended with comedy for many years now, in the forties there were cross over movies from Universal featuring the talents of Abbott and Costello with many of their most popular monsters like Dracula, the Wolf-Man and Frankenstein. Now this is becoming its own genre with the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise and others of this ilk. I realize there are a lot of negative reactions to this film and I can easily understand where they are coming from. The thing is there is a more to this film than immediately obvious to the audience. There is a subtle layer just below the surface where most of the entertainment resides. It may come as a surprise but this film has its moments and makes a point about how the studios dilute our expectations for quality entertainment and then pander to the lowest possible denominator found in the industry.
The writer and director of this flick was Jeff Fisher and as it turns out he has a great resume to take on a project like this. He has worked on numerous reality series including ‘Real World’, ‘Big Brother’ and ‘The Simple Life’. Some may say that being involved in a Paris Hilton program also provides horror credentials. He served in these shows in numerous capacities ranging from producer, director and story editor to writer. So much for all of realty TV is unscripted. Fisher infuses his story here with lots of little inside jokes blended with a dark comedy foundation. The construction of the story also allowed for the natural inclusion of the public’s fascination with marginal celebrities. It may take more than one viewings to get into the premise and execution of this movie but if you stick with it the results are well worth it. The core of this film is a satire playfully revealing the machinations and hypocrisies inherent in so called reality television. This goal is also well served by Fisher’s style of direction. At regular intervals throughout the movie the characters break the forth wall to address the audience directly. This emulates the ‘confessional’ scene that has become integral to the format of every reality show around.
Jake (Paul Wesley) has been trying to build a career as a director but lately he has been having problems getting projects off the ground. After a disastrous TV show derails him he jumps at a chance to helm a reality show set in a small town in North Dakota. Ostensibly the series was to follow the local high school hockey team posed to break an extremely long losing streak. His agent, Seaton Brookstone (Nestor Carbonell) sets up the deal with the network but one proviso is Jake has to work with another client, Blanca Champion (Kaley Cuoco). She is a vacuous, self centered celebrity known more for her tabloid fueled antics than any talent. She wants to shadow Jake playing his production assistant so she can go for a part playing a director. Just before the production crew sweeps into town a couple of grisly murders occur. The executive producer of the show, Lee (Cyia Batten) comes up with another idea that is when she is not sexually harassing the other women on the crew. Lee wants to ditch the underdog team concept in favor of a more gruesome treatment of the potential serial killer preying on the town. The set-up is admittedly predicable with Blanca’s diva routine quickly wearing thin. Initially the head cheerlead is in awe of the blonde starlet but as soon as every male in the vicinity begins to drool over the tabloid queen envy turns to hatred. For those who are fans of Ms Cuoco from family friendly series like ‘8 Simple Rules’ or ‘Big Bang Theory’ be advised she has a major potty mouth going on here with some of the most dreaded curse words possible peppering nearly every line of her dialogue. There are a few imaginative slasher flick style murders occur starting a mere few minutes in and at a fairly regular basis thereafter. You know that the crew will start dropping like flies but what the movie lacks in originality of plot it makes up for in the sheer fun of the presentation. It seems that the real cast and crew decided to just enjoy the ride while making this flick. The cast used here was culled from some of the stars of teen oriented television. Besides Wesley from ‘Vampire Dairies’ there are roles for ‘Gossip Girl’s’ Leighton Meester and Nestor Carbonell from the enigmatic ‘Lost’.
Ultimately this movie is entertaining and a fine example of self satire. It takes some effort to get into it but you will find that it’s worth it. Just be aware that this is definitely not for the diehard fans of horror. The gore is done with tongue planted firmly in cheek with a twisted streak that is fun to watch.