The Toxic Avenger is the film most film fans would be familiar with, but Troma has made its name in putting out over-the-top gory exploitation cinema. KILL belongs right up there with the best of the worst that Troma is known for. Unfortunately for us it takes nearly an hour to get to the juicy gore-soaked goodness.
When six strangers wake up in a mysterious house, they have to work together to start putting together the pieces as to how they got there and most importantly why. The set up is nothing unique but certainly can be a fun one. Instead of fun or creepy, we get bad dialog and even worse acting as the characters stumble along room to room trying to find a way out. It doesn’t take long for the six strangers to learn they are being watched as they find several surveillance cameras throughout the house.
After being taunted by their captors and finding more clues, it is made clear the only way they will escape and get to their loved ones is to kill. Not just kill, mind you, but there can only be one survivor, and they will be united with their loved ones. A mysterious guy shows up with a stab wound and of course passes out before any information can be gained from him. Instead of head games and intense scenes of ultra-violence, the film makers give us characters arguing and blaming each other for all that is going on.
Trying to keep in mind that this is an ultra-ow-budget film, it is hard to look past the horrid set dressing spread throughout the house. It’s as though someone got fifty bucks and raided the discount racks of a party store and thought it would make the setting appear tropic-like. This tropic/ Tiki aspect of the film is its biggest misstep in my opinion; it’s not creepy, it’s just bad. What is going for the film is the cinematography; with nice angles and tight close- ups, the camera department does their best to set a tone with this film.
As characters branch off and go off on their own, this becomes the convenient time for the lights to go out or for mysterious masked Tiki-men to show up. I think this was meant to be creepy, but instead this left me in a fit of giggles. What follows is not a murder, mind you, but the Tiki-men have something more ominous up their sleeve, and apparently it was to do nothing more than throw blood on one of the girls. Not my first choice for contents to throw on a girl in flimsy white material in a tropical house setting, but hey, at least we got some blood on the screen.
With the Tiki-men loose in the house we are sort of offered some tension as each of the captures is hunted down and drugged. To spice things up, even a man dressed in a suit of armor joins in the hunt to drug all the captures. At this point I was relieved anything was happening.
What happens next took me by surprise. At about the one hour mark it’s as though the film has started over with the characters coming to from their drug-induced state. Everyone is mad, scared, and ready for escape, and when it comes over the PA system they have only one hour for them to decide who lives and who dies.
Suddenly this movie comes alive.
The next thirty minutes is non-stop blood-soaked carnage. No time is wasted on bickering or finger pointing. Anything our captures can get their hands on becomes a weapon to bludgeon, stab or burn. This is what the movie should have been throughout. These characters don’t care any more; all they want is to escape and survive, and they dig deep to do whatever it takes.
I’m frustrated because most times it’s the ending of the film that doesn’t deliver, but instead the blame goes to the first 2/3 of the movie. If this were a thirty-minute short I think they would have audiences pumped about this, but unfortunately that is not the case. I really wanted to like this movie, but you simply can’t ignore how bad the majority of the film is. If you happen to catch this on DVD, do yourself a favor and skip to the end, and maybe you’ll come away with a better experience.