Trent Haaga's 68 Kill is trashy, but it needed to be a little trashier. This is one of those films that starts breathlessly and charges straight into the action, without bothering to set much of a scene. And that's fine; 68 Kill is not trying to weave some generation-spanning tale of poverty and suffering. No, this movie is about campy thrills, and it manages those decently, at least in the first and last halves of the movie. The lovely AnnaLynne McCord plays Liza, a young woman tired of her lot in life. She prostitutes herself to her trailer park's landlord for extra cash, and promises beau Chip (Matthew Gray Gubler) that it means nothing. When she learns the man is holding $68,000, she convinces Chip to accompany her to rip off the old creep. Things do not go as planned.
Masked and toting guns, Liza and Chip grab the cash out of an upstairs safe but end up arousing the residents. To Chip's horror, Liza quickly kills the man and his wife. "You act like you've never killed anyone before," Liza smirks. After Chip nearly vomits, she assures him, "You'll get over it." Chip then spots a young lady, assumed to be the daughter, and Liza orders him to grab her and shove her in the trunk of Liza's crappy ‘90s Mustang. He obliges, as always, and the trio hits the road. They travel to see Liza's brother, Dwayne (Sam Eidson), who is twice as screwed up as Liza. She admits she has sold him a girl before, and Dwayne apparently rapes and kills people with some regularity. This is too much for Chip, and he manages to escape with the hostage, who turns out to be Violet (Alisha Boe), an employee, not a relative, of the deceased couple.
The majority of 68 Kill is a road movie of sorts, as Chip and Violet try to evade Liza. A romance quickly sparks between the two, and Liza reveals that she was forced to perform sexual favors for her former employer. Unfortunately, 68 Kill reveals its weaknesses when it slows down. With McCord no longer on screen to command viewers' attention, the mind begins to wander. This is certainly a lower-budget production, and some of the action bits do not resonate as they should. Nevertheless, I like the performances from McCord and Gubler and the film's overall gonzo drive enough to recommend one viewing for fans of this kind of stuff. Haaga, who also wrote the screenplay, throws a whole bunch of nasty degenerates in Chip's path. One particularly crazy bad girl is Monica (Sheila Vand), a gas station attendant who earns Violet's wrath. This is one woman Violet should have left alone.
The overall theme of 68 Kill - at least for Chip - is to avoid crazy women. I think this is a universal theme that can apply in the opposite direction if you are a woman, but 68 Kill earns a number of chuckles when Chip proves time and again his judgment goes out the window when a pretty lady is around. I wish the dialogue had been a bit wittier, too, as the actors have a lot of fun with the characters. Tighter writing could have kicked this project up a notch and made it something really special. As it stands, 68 Kill is a trashy, throwaway good time for genre fans. McCord is always a joy to watch, and I look forward to seeing more of Gubler, Boe and Vand. If you find jokes about rape, human trafficking and murder tasteless, you should look elsewhere for movie night. If depraved violence, gorgeous women and offbeat humor are your thing, give it a spin.
The 2.35:1/1080p/AVC-encoded transfer from Shout! Factory is strong. This is a gritty, colorful, manic film, and the image handles the frequently frenetic camerawork with ease. Fine-object details like blood, facial features and fabric textures are good, and wide shots are crisp. Colors run slightly hot but do not bleed, and black levels are decent. Compression artifacts are minimal, and the film remains sharp and clean throughout.
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is busy, with plenty of action effects to pan the surrounds and rattle the subwoofer. Dialogue is clean and integrated nicely with effects and score. Environmental effects make use of the rear speakers, and directional dialogue is frequent and effective. Despite all the busy elements, the track never feels cluttered. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are available.
PACKAGING AND EXTRAS:
This two-disc set includes the Blu-ray and a DVD copy. The discs are packed in a regular case with two-sided artwork that is wrapped in a slipcover. There are no extras.
AnnaLynne McCord anchors this wild and depraved road trip through trailer park hell. 68 Kill is trashy, messy and tasteless, but offers enough thrills to warrant a recommendation for genre films. The disc has no extras and the movie will not appeal to everyone, so my ultimate advice is to Rent It.