Starring Rita Artmann, Joe Bauer, Dryden Bingham, Daniel Johnston Andrew O’Sullivan
Directed by Joe Bauer
Distributed by Left Films
It would be unfair given my recent remarks toward Fury: The Tales of Ronan Pierce (review) for its exceptionally obvious ADR if I didn’t let it be known that The Killage suffers from the same problem. It seems that just about every piece of dialogue in this low budget indie slasher/comedy is looped in post-production, and it’s off-puttingly awkward.
But there’s also one huge difference between the two: The Killage is less likely to make you crush your own carotid artery in a desperate search for sweet release than it is to have you grip your sides in good-natured laughter.
In Joe Bauer’s flick, a group of young co-workers are brought together for a team-building forest retreat only to discover that one of their number is a psychopathic killer. Picking them off one by one, the wooden-masked murderer butchers their way through the tribe in standard slasher film style while the hapless, constantly bickering survivors try to figure out who the culprit is.
Focused more on the comedy than it is the scares, The Killage is a relatively simple affair sporting an obviously amateur cast… one which, with few exceptions — most notably Artmann as kickass-survivor-with-sex-appeal Emily — feels like little more than a group of friends who have set out to have a fun time making their own film. It’s juvenile and low-brow, throwing out dick jokes, piss jokes, an asshole character named Dickman (who also happens to be in a wheelchair) and a swathe of stereotypes, like Scary Movie crossed with everything-be-damned Aussie humour — but it works.
From the hilariously deadpan performance by Andrew O’Sullivan as the knuckleheaded (and almost perpetually nude) Jock to some great running jokes such as Andre (Cameron Sowden) constantly asserting the fact that he doesn’t do drugs, at even the slightest provocation, there’s rarely a couple of minutes that go by without a clever call-back or piece of smart-mouthed smarm.
Things are occasionally pushed too far — talking severed heads, for example, just don’t work in this realm of mere slapstick — but for the most part it does well in managing its own levels. It isn’t for everyone, make no mistake — if you demand biting satire, anything remotely intellectual, or take affront to stereotypes or “lazy” humour when it comes to your comedy you’d do well to give The Killage a wide berth.
There’s plenty of gory mayhem to go around, marred only occasionally by an abundance of CGI which is glaringly lo-fi in some spots, but really quite impressively rendered in others given the home-grown nature of the film. It’s rough in more than a few places — there’s no denying that — but The Killage manages to overcome its limitations by offering plenty of spark and a breezy willingness to please.
An unexpected delight, The Killage proves a worthwhile treat once adjusted to its particular stride and irreverent outlook.
Left Films bring The Killage to UK DVD sporting a stable of special features that puts most other releases of small indie flicks to shame. First up, there’s a lively cast and crew feature commentary, followed by a staggering 85 minutes of “fly on the wall” style behind-the-scenes footage. After that, director Bauer steps in for a 33-minute look at the film’s digital visual effects… and there’s a hell of lot more in there than you’d think. This is a very enlightening and surprising featurette, made a lot of fun to watch by Bauer’s self-deprecating humour and openness.
Next up there’s a short featurette on the the film’s music (which ends rather amusingly in the composing software crashing), around 30 minutes of outtakes and bloopers, two trailers and two photo galleries from the film’s shooting which are backed up with commentary by Artmann and Bauer.
Finally, the entire 167 pages of The Killage‘s storyboards are yours to watch unfold, accompanied by the film’s score, should you wish.
A superb package overall. You simply couldn’t ask for more when it comes to a film of this stature.
- Commentary with Rita Artmann, Dryden Bingham, Andrew O’Sullivan & Joe Bauer
- Behind the Scenes
- Visual Effects Featurette
- Music Featurette
- Photo Galleries