Piotr Uzarowicz's Killer Yacht Party started life as Dead In The Water, a better name by anyone's standards but Troma has picked up the title and released under the more sensationalist moniker on DVD. The film follows Jane (Maggie Marion) who relocates from a small town in the Midwest to the bustling metropolis of Los Angeles where she hopes her burgeoning music career will get the shot in the arm that it needs. Here she hangs out with her friend Lacy (Becky Boxer), a party girl who knows all the clubs and who is determined to use that knowledge to get her friend a man. Jane's not all that interested in being set up, but Lacy isn't taking no for an answer and when Lacy is invited to a fancy party by one of the club owner's she knows that's taking place on his yacht, there's no way she isn't dragging Jane along for the ride.
The girls arrive at the destination and board the ship along with a pretty large group of other partygoers, unaware that the boat was once owned by a socialite, an heiress actually, who was burned to death when there was a fire onboard. The cops investigated and decided her death was accidental, but there are those who knew the circumstances well enough to suspect that her gold digging husband murdered her for her money. As the boat leaves shore and the sun sets, one of the passengers who claims to be psychic starts to get weird vibes and when the boat's passengers start getting killed, it looks like the ghost of the murdered woman may be haunting the ship and making short work of those who are travelling on it.
Killer Yacht Party has a few things going for it - mainly, a couple of creative kills and a requisite naked lady or two kind enough to show off her birthday suit - but nothing that really helps to set it apart from the hundreds, if not thousands, of low budget slasher films churned out every year. The psychic angle looks like it's going to turn into something interesting but that doesn't actually ever happen and to the film's detriment in a big way are the pacing issues. Once the killing starts occurring, the film obviously picks up but it isn't until two thirds of the way into the picture that this actually occurs. What we're left with is a ninety minute film in which the first sixty minutes or so are filled with dull dialogue and uninteresting characters. The actresses are pretty to look at, so there's that going for it, but it's tough to think of much else to really discuss here as the film just doesn't wind up leaving much of an impression at all.
Let's try though - the film is reasonably well shot and shows some obvious technical competency behind the camera. Some nice camera set ups result in some cool angles and the lighting is good, which helps to make the yacht setting nice to look at. The premise itself is decent, in that our characters are all gleefully put in a location where they're intending to whoop it up only to find that, oh snap, they're out in the middle of the ocean with no way to get off the boat where someone is intent on killing them all. This should result in more tension than it does but as we can't connect with the countless selfish characters, let alone care for them or like them, it doesn't quite work out that. The performances don't account for much as no one in the cast seems all that into what they're doing, so what we wind up with is a technically proficient movie that scores well for looking good but fails to ever really hit the stride we want it to. The end result is that, by slasher movie standards, it's fairly dull.
Killer Yacht Party looks alright in this 1.78.1 anamorphic widescreen presentation from Troma. Colors look fairly bright without appearing oversaturated and skin tones look pretty natural. The black levels are good for a lower budgeted presentation and any compression artifacts that pop up in the darker scenes are minor. Detail is about what you'd expect from a shot on video low budget slasher film - it won't blow your mind but the movie looks pretty good here.
The only audio option for the movie is an English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track, no alternate language options or subtitles are provided. As far as the quality of the mix goes, it's about on par with the video in that it sounds pretty decent even if it isn't something you're going to go to as demo material. There's some good left-right channel separation in a few spots and the levels are well balanced meaning that you'll never have any issues understanding the performers overtop of the sound effects and score.
The only really substantial extra here is a commentary track from director Piotr Uzarowicz who is joined by writer Alex Silver. The two discuss pretty much everything you'd expect them to - where some of the ideas for the movie came, how certain scenes were put together, casting the film, and budgetary issues. It's a fairly lively track with a lot of good information in it. Aside from that, look for the usual Troma PSAs, a few trailers, an intro from Lloyd Kaufman, a still gallery, animated menus and chapters stops.
Killer Yacht Party has its heart in the right place, with a few gory kills and a bit of welcome nudity but it suffers from pacing problems, uninspired acting and a fairly bland script. Troma's DVD looks and sounds okay, but the only decent extra is the commentary track, which isn't enough to save this one. Slasher die-hards might want to rent this just for the sake of seeing a more obscure offering, everyone else can rest easy without bothering. Skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.