Movie: One of the most common themes for an independently made movie is making a movie. The movie-in-a-movie concept has been worked to death and therefore it seems like only those who are bold enough to think they have a new take on it or those clueless enough to not understand the difficulties of providing such a fresh look currently try it. A writer friend of mine suggests people make such movies because they are taught to make "what they know" while in school. To me, this seems like such people weren't paying attention since the end result shows that they didn't "know" the subject matter as well as they thought. That brings us to the Independently released movie, Killer Flick.
Killer Flick is a movie about 4 guys who hit the road to make a movie, sparing no one as they kill and kidnap along the way. Their goal is to get a grade "Z" actor to participate in their movie and nothing will stop them. Most of the dialogue is directed at poking fun towards movie clichés and marketing requirements of movies. Each character, Rome (the director), Max, (the gay writer), One Eye (the cinematographer), and Buzz (the musician), contribute to the overall picture as they search for fame and glory on a roadtrip.
Wow did this one stink! Made in 1996, it was obviously a labor of love for Director Mark Weidman but it was like watching a rambling rant by a drunk in a bar near closing time. Even on a tongue in cheek level, the acting made Plan 9 From Outer Space look like an Academy Award winner. The sets cheapness were to be expected in a low budget independent movie but when the commentary track is far more interesting than the movie itself, you know something's wrong.
Most of what were probably failed attempts at satire, were simply boring. The acting was worse than a bad porno, and the use of color/B&W to "show" where the movie was the movie being made versus the process itself was incredibly poorly conceived. Using tricks to differentiate such matters shows a lack of vision more than anything else and I couldn't help but feeling the movie was made as a spoof of independent film making. If the spoof aspect were done better, I'd be praising it but that simply wasn't the case.
I didn't like the movie and can't see anyone who's sober enjoying it either. While the possibility exists that someone who actually watches it likes it on some level, I'm not familiar with such people. Were there any reason to like this movie, I'd let you know. The acting weak, the script nonexistent, the plot MIA, and the humor, or what supposedly passed for humor, wouldn't get a laugh at a NORML convention. As such, I rate this one as a Skip It.
Picture: The picture was presented in 1.33:1 ratio full frame. The color was sometimes off balance and the fleshtones suffered as a result. The grain was expected as were all the regular flaws of poorly made, low budget releases but the dvd transfer didn't help matters any with all the compression artifacts.
Sound: The sound was presented in stereo English with minimal separation of the channels. It wasn't as bad as the picture but it had that low budget feel as well. Had the story been more interesting, as is the case with a great many independent movies, you wouldn't notice it's limitations but this is not one of those cases.
Extras: The extras were pretty solid for a Vanguard dvd. The director's commentary track was far more enjoyable than the feature itself. It included Director Mark Weidman and Producer Chip Smith who both talked about various aspects of the movie. They focused on two areas: making a low budget movie and their experiences with doing so themselves. The other extra was some Behind the Scenes footage that showed some of the stunts.
Final Thoughts: If you really want to make an independent, low budget movie, you may well glean some tips from the commentary track but the feature was pretty weak. The acting, premise, and lack of humor made it a tough one to sit through for me. Pass it up unless you want to share my pain.