Not that long ago, I wrote a rather scathing review of a horror movie called Staunton Hill. In that review, I used language that might be considered objectionable by some people, and certainly was reflective of a somewhat unsophisticated way of expressing my disdain for the film. Looking back, I regret the words I used to describe Staunton Hill--but not for the reasons some of you might think. Staunton Hill is still a total piece of crap, make no mistake about that. The problem, however, is that Killing Ariel is, in its own unique way, an even bigger piece of crap, and therefore more deserving of the tirade that I laid down on Staunton Hill. But since I've already used up my profanity-laced tirade quota of the month, I'll have to find other ways to express my pure hatred for Killing Ariel.
This worthless nonsense starts in 1933, when young Rick witnesses the murder-suicide death of his parents. Fast-forward several decades, and Rick is a grown man (Michael Brainard) in a mental institution for reasons that are not perfectly clear. Rick starts spouting off some mumbo jumbo about how his mother was having an affair with a demon, and then he begins to recount his own encounter with a sinister being from Hell. That being is Ariel (Axelle Grelet), a hot to trot, self-professed "sex demon" that accompanies Rick to his family homestead, so they can have a tawdry affair behind the back of Rick's loving wife. Things get weird when Rick starts hallucinating, and ends up killing Ariel during one of his mental meltdowns. But Ariel won't stay dead, and he has to kill her over and over again, culminating in a conversation with her severed head. And while that trick worked in Evil Dead 2, it falls as flat as everything else in this tired mess.
Killing Ariel is, for the most part, a miserable failure of a film. The non-linear story is not confusing so much as it is muddled, although if you begin to drift off from hopeless boredom as I did, you may find yourself confused at some point. You won't however, feel the need to rewind to see what you've missed, because as muddled as Killing Ariel may be, it is even less compelling, and as a whole, it is a very poorly written script. The lackluster script is made all the more terrible by the acting, which is painful, laughable and just plain wallowing-in-shit bad. Written by Fred Calvert, who co-directed with David Negron, the script manages fail on so many levels that it becomes an epic tragedy of cinematic shortcomings.
The only positive thing that can be said is about Killing Ariel is that is has some nudity--not much, and nothing all that exciting, but it's nudity none the less. Of course, the piss-poor lighting makes much of the nudity hard to see. But the flip side to that is that most of the movie is difficult to see, which makes it feel like less of your brain is rotting from watching this garbage.
Killing Ariel is presented 1.85:1 widescreen. I was given a promotional screener to view, so I can't comment on final product. But I can say that the picture quality on the screener was way too dark, and made it difficult to watch a movie that was already difficult to watch.
Killing Ariel is presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital in English, with optional Spanish subtitles. This was a promotional screener, not final product. The sound mix was as bad as the picture, in that the levels were jumbled, the music overbearing, and the terrible dialog often difficult to hear (which might not be that bad).
None on the promo screener. Supposedly a making of featurette on the final product.
The fact that this movie has been deemed worthy of a DVD release is mind-boggling to me. Still, just because it exists on DVD, does not mean that it should ever be placed in a player and exposed to human eyes.
David Walker is the creator of BadAzz MoFo, a nationally published film critic, and the Writer/Director of Black Santa's Revenge with Ken Foree now on DVD [Buy it now]