If you're slapping together your own low-budget slasher flick, and you're intent on writing, directing and starring in the damn thing too, it might be a good idea to toss a sense of humor into the equation, just to generate a little goodwill among the horror fans who've already seen 300 "homemade" slasher flicks in the past five years. That's pretty much what Beth Dewey did. She's practically the Orson Welles of Kill House, and I'm having a hard time figuring out which of the three professions she's worst at.
A throughly sloppy and annoyingly unpleasant little indie flick, Kill House is fairly plotless: We're introduced to a collection of hateful jerks who work in a realty office. Then we're introduced to some rich jerks in a "fancy" house. Then both groups start getting attacked by an unseen slasher and (thankfully) the ensemble starts getting thinned out big-time. In between the frequent and fairly unconvincing dispatches, we're subjected to dialog that borders on the absurd. True, some of it is meant to be broadly weird or simply amusing ... but it's not. It's as if Dewey didn't want to be bothered trying something "scary," so she just fell back on "funny" -- and landed somewhere near "obnoxious."
The screenplay is a confusing mess, the actors are pretty much terrible across the board, the gore effects are generic at best, the pacing is really muddled, the premise is flimsy, and the payoff is weak. If that sounds like a great way to spend 89 of your horror-lovin' minutes, then by all means feel free to grab the (one) copy of Kill House found on your local Blockbuster's shelf, run home and toss the thing into your player. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Obviously one can throw together a fairly entertaining movie on very limited funds, but I get the impression that Ms. Dewey has seen very few good examples of the "indie horror" genre. There's nothing in Kill House that even remotely approaches "scary," and the writer/director's ideas on "funny" are nearly as clueless. The thing feels like a vanity project, basically, for an actress / filmmaker who probably shouldn't possess this much vanity. To be honest, her acting skills are about on par with her filmmaking talents ... and that's the scary part.
The slightly silver lining is that Kill House looks just a little bit better than most homemade Handycam horror flicks, but that one small asset is consistently offset by a combination of bad actors and sloppy writing. Subplots involving a gloomy parolee and two spoiled rotten teenagers go nowhere slowly. Worst of all, practically every single character (and there is a bunch) is a smug, obnoxious, hateful imbecile. Pretty tough to foster any sort of rooting interest when you hate everyone from the main girl to the background victims.
Video: As stated above, the widescreen transfer is a bit more professional than most of the handheld horror flicks I've seen, but not by all that much.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0. No frills, but audible enough.
Extras: There's a rather boring 20-minute collection of behind-the-scenes footage and a few deleted scenes you won't bother with.
Cheap, obvious and clumsily constructed are bad enough things for a flick to be, but when you actually want to climb into the movie and smack every single character, well, that can be a real chore.