“The story of a man in a mountain climbing accident who cut his own friends off the rope to save himself. Convicted of second degree manslaughter, that’s compelling stuff.”
Well… technically he took a plea bargain. This is actually pretty frightening stuff in the very real world that we live in. It’s a moral question that each of us would like to believe they would make a certain way. But, the truth is, one can never really be sure. It’s a circumstance that no one wants to actually find out what they would do. But, it does pose a very interesting question, doesn’t it? Could you kill people you care about to save your own skin? There are a lot of ways to rationalize yourself around this one. In the example presented in the film’s opening segment, one could argue that had he not cut the rope his friends would still have died. The only difference is that he would have joined them. We can believe that our true friends would not want us to sacrifice our life if there is no hope of saving theirs. The truth is that if we did what the guy in the film did, it would likely make us social outcasts. And that can take a toll on an already fragile state of mind. In fact, it might even create a killer.
In this case we cut to a group of college co-eds who are celebrating the approaching graduation day and intend to take one last fling as a group together. One of them has rich parents who happen to own a secluded cabin on a lake that they almost never use. The perfect setting for this particular experiment in the mind. We get the usual romping around until one of the girls is killed. The killer leaves behind a videotape that describes his intention. He wants to play a game. Sound familiar? The group has three hours to whittle themselves down to a single survivor. If only one person is alive at the end of that time, they may leave unharmed. If more than one person is still alive, all of them will be killed. Now these close friends will have to consider killing each other in order for one of them to survive. Of course, they’re reluctant at first. But, that’s OK, the killer’s willing to pitch in and give them a hand. He’s set lethal traps in the area and manages to pick off a couple of the group himself. Still, most of the group believes that if they stick together, they can beat this guy. Unfortunately, there are going to be members in this group who aren’t willing to die for someone else. First doubt sets in. Then there’s mistrust. The rest … well these kinds of games can be murder on a friendship, you know.
You can’t discount the obvious Saw influences here. The killer does a lot of the same kind of moralizing, offering very much the same kinds of circumstances and choices. There’s even that altered voice that sounds far too much like Jigsaw. But don’t blow this one off because you think it’s just another Saw ripoff. Derivative, to be sure. There are some original aspects to the situation. The killer is trying to prove a point of contention he’s having with his court-ordered therapist. He believes that many people would have made the choice he made on the mountain, while the therapist is trying to feed him the convention that most people would act with more “honor”. This one’s worth the time.
The gore factor is pretty high. This is a solid R film, and it does take care of business. If you’re here for the blood and guts, you’re going to find enough here to satisfy. The kills might not be the most original or elaborate, but there’s the extra added value of going beyond the normal game of guessing who’s next. Here you also get to guess who is going to be the next to kill. It won’t be just one player and, for me anyway, that ratchets up the entertainment value considerably.
Kill Theory is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The thing I really don’t like about this image is that someone went a little overboard with the color correction software. Things are always just a little off in the colors, so the film never gets real for me. It’s dark with only fair black levels, so don’t expect a lot of detail throughout much of the movie. Everything from flesh tones to the blood effects is tweaked too much for my tastes. Sure, it’s not really a complaint of the transfer, because it was all intended. I just didn’t like it, that’s all.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is also a little weak. There’s no real dynamic power to any of this. The score seems to just hang there, not really offering much atmosphere or mood. Yeah, there are the expected jump moments, but even they are not really all that punchy. Dialog is fine, and there are a few nice surround moments. Overall this is a pretty wimpy sound presentation.
Behind The Scenes: (8:35) Cast and crew offer up the typical sound bites. One guy calls the film Survivor on acid. Sounds about right.
Deleted Scenes: (8:16) There are 3 with no play all. There is also a director commentary which is not optional. Mostly it establishes that the killer had done this before with some of those kills. It was a little disappointing to hear a director say that setting up character relationships and development in a horror film is a complete waste of time.
My second of this year’s 8 Films To Die For was yet another pretty good film. If this continues, this will be a pretty good week for me. And if you’re in the mood for some good new horror movies, March 23 was pretty huge, wasn’t it? “It’s a big day for you.”