SO BAD IT'S GOOD
Film Review by Fiore
This weekend, while moviegoers are flocking to see Hugh Jackman’s swansong as Wolverine, an action hero from the past is sharing his limelight. Dolph Lundgren, who has never been known for his thespian acumens, is garnering accolades for his performance in DON’T KILL IT. It’s not that his performance is good. It’s terrible, but then so is the movie. The first clue that no one involved with this production is taking it seriously, comes in the opening scene when continuity becomes irrelevant. An infected hunter enters his truck with a bolt rifle, and after a short drive home, leaves his truck with a pump shotgun. But, wait, it’s even better.
When the town realizes it’s under siege from demonic forces, the sheriff declares: “I can do this. I have a heart condition” and is seen racing out of town in the sheriff’s SUV, never to be seen in the film again. Finally, someone with a realistic reaction to horror. It ranks up there with Willie Best yelling: “Feets don’t fail me now” in Bob Hope’s GHOST BREAKERS.
In fact, DON’T KILL IT is so terrible, you will laugh your ass off watching it. After all the bad ass roles Lundgren played, his stoic screen presence is utilized by Director Mike Mendez as a parody of itself with hilarious results. Mendez is no stranger to camp schlock-B horror. He helmed LAVALANTULA for a SyFy Saturday Night offing. If DON’T KILL IT were meant as a serious horror film, it would not merit a slot on SyFy Saturday; however, once the carnage begins, it’s easy to see DON’T KILL IT is intended strictly for laughs, and it delivers in grand fashion.
It’s tricky to use violence as comedy. The Three Stooges could do it with aplomb. Oliver Stone did it well with Woody Harrelson in NATURAL BORN KILLERS, and Gabriel Macht and Samuel L. Jackson perfected it in THE SPIRIT. But in DON’T KILL IT, the violence is so over the top it qualifies as slapstick. Heads exploding with broom taps, limbs falling to the floor before the chain saw finishes its arc and little girls flying through the air with gnawing teeth, much like the rabbit in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL.
Lundgren plays Jebediah, a grizzled demon hunter who is part Indiana Jones and part Foster Brooks. His typical “I must break you” delivery elicits chuckles as his techniques for capturing demons is as effective as Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau. He comes to a small town in Mississippi to recapture a demon set loose on the town’s inhabitants. This demon lives off death. It invades the body of anyone who kills it, which makes for a frantic showdown during the town hall scene. It’s bloodier than a jihad of paid protesters at a Republican town hall meeting.
Helping Jebediah catch the demon is FBI agent Evelyn Pierce, played by Kristina Klebe. She was last seen in TALES OF HALLOWEEN, and starred in Rob Zombie’s remake of HALLOWEEN.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. THE TOWN HALL MEETING
2. SNAGGED IN THE WOODS
3. THROWN OVERBOARD
What aids the comedic value of the violence is its excessiveness. SFX veteran Robert Kurtzman goes overboard with the fake blood buckets and limb parts. He is the man behind Quentin Tarantino’s FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, and Bruce Campell’s EVIL DEAD 2. Script writers Dan Berk and Robert Olson take every cliché from every horror film made, mix them in a blender and spew them onto paper with reckless abandon. DON’T KILL IT is so over the top, it becomes epic. It is evident all the filmmakers were having a good time with this one; a cut-loose sorbet from Hollywood’s serious side.
There are many who do not, and cannot see violence as funny. For them, the charm of DON’T KILL IT is elusive. For those of us with a slightly skewered sense of humor, DON’T KILL IT will rank right up there with Rutger Hauer’s HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN.
Let’s take a look at the report card for DON’T KILL IT:
ACTING = C
CINEMATOGRAPHY = B
SOUND/MUSIC = B
EDITING = A
LIGHTING = B
SCRIPT = C
SFX = B
ACTION = B