Directed by Jack Perez
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
During these steamy summer days Jack Perez’s latest film, Some Guy Who Kills People, offers up a big scoop of refreshing horror comedy awesomeness that’s sure to charm the pants right off of fans everywhere now that the twisted and heartwarming flick finally made its way home onto DVD last week.
At the start we find lovable loser Ken Boyd (Kevin Corrigan) seriously down on his luck; at age 34, he’s stuck living at home with his imposing and abrasive mother (Karen Black) and working a minimum wage job at the local ice cream shop because no one else will hire him due to the fact that he’s just been released from a mental institution after having suffered a nervous breakdown.
But not everything has gone completely to pot in Ken’s life; he has a supportive and loyal best friend (Leo Fitzpatrick) to keep him entertained at work, a brand new love interest that has just moved to town (Lucy Davis), and he has just reconnected with his estranged 12-year-old daughter, Amy (Ariel Gade), after she discovers his identity.
As Ken continues to struggle with keeping his inner demons in check while focusing on the good in his life, it appears that maybe the recovering patient isn’t quite cured yet; soon the men responsible for his nervous breakdown learn the valuable lesson on why it doesn’t pay to be a bully after they all begin to fall victim of a mysterious killer who hunts them down one-by-one, leaving a trail of bodies for the local sheriff (Barry Bostwick) to discover along the way.
Just to be clear, Some Guy Who Kills People is by no means a horror film so for those of you out there looking for scares, you’ll have to look elsewhere. But what the film lacks in scares it certainly makes up for in heart and humor as you’ll be hard pressed to find a better or more likable genre-infused comedy this year.
What makes Some Guy Who Kills People so damn endearing is writer/producer Ryan Levin’s creative and engaging script that manages to offer up some clever twists on the modern serial killer subgenre- something that has been seriously lacking in the horror world for the last few years.
Beyond its high entertainment value, Levin also gives viewers a little food for thought in Some Guy Who Kills People as his script also tackles the hot button issue of bullying; both Ken and Amy are victims of bullies, and we see how both choose to deal with their respective situations, with Levin’s approach on the subject matter never feeling too heavy-handed or forced in either case.
At the helm of Some Guy Who Kills People is Jack Perez, a filmmaker whose previous credits include films like Monster Island and Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus and may have been a bit of a gamble at the start. However, Perez demonstrates here why he was the perfect guy to take the mantle of this flick from John Landis once the Master of Horror exited the project as director some time back for Burke & Hare (Landis is still on board in a producing role). Perez displays a keen visual style in the flick, with a vibrant color palette at play that makes for an an eye-catching backdrop in Ken’s weird little world. Perez also does a great job of blending the subtle comedic tones of Levin’s script and smartly gives his performers some room to breathe, allowing for some truly stellar comedic performances by the entire ensemble.
Front and center is Corrigan, an actor who has never really had the opportunity to lead a film before but proves he’s certainly up to the task on Some Guy Who Kills People; his portrayal of Ken as the underdog worth rooting for is deeply funny and moving, played with a quietly subtlety that makes for some compelling work. Bostwick nearly steals the entire movie away from his highly-talented co-stars; he’s given much of the comedic relief duties in Some Guy as the somewhat bumbling small-town sheriff and perfectly nails each hilarious moment, akin to his work on the highly underrated sitcom “Spin City.”
Black is sublime as Ken’s borderline abusive mother who very well could have become a caricature had it not been for the veteran actress’s masterful approach to the role; she’s tough but loving, and despite her son being somewhat of a disappointment overall, she only wants the best for him and is there to push him into some kind of “normalcy” whenever Ken begins to get lost inside his own dark thoughts.
And Gade, a 15-year-old actress who is already a genre vet herself, is pitch perfect as Ken’s daughter, Amy, with many of the movie’s best moments happening whenever the young actress is onscreen. Amy acts as a bit of a center to Ken’s newly evolving universe post-mental institution, and their relationship is the heart and soul of Levin’s story. Sure, the kills and the jokes are fun, but it’s watching the father/daughter relationship that’s really the meat and potatoes of Some Guy.
But if forced to nitpick, Some Guy Who Kills People does suffer from a brief lag during the second act, with the story meandering just a bit too long on some of the side storylines and losing focus on Ken and what’s going on with his story. Perhaps trimming about 7-10 minutes out of the middle section may have given the film a bit of a nudge that would have pushed it into five-star territory, but overall it’s really like splitting hairs. Perez thankfully gets everything back on track for the flick’s final act, with Some Guy finishing just as strongly and delightfully as it started.
The only other small issue I have with the film is the brief use of CG blood during one of the gags; with Some Guy going practical for most of the other murder scenes, this one in particular felt a little cheapened by the use of fake gore which kind of took me out of things for a brief moment. As a whole, though, both of these issues are insanely easy to overlook due to the fact that the rest of the flick is so damn good.
If you’re someone who enjoys your genre fare to deliver an experience a little outside the box, then Some Guy Who Kills People should be right up your alley; little about the film is truly groundbreaking, but it’s Perez’s masterful handling of Levin’s smart and endearing script as well as his finesse with the flick’s dramatically flaired (and gleefully gory) death scenes that proves guts and gore aren’t the only ways to keep genre fans entertained.
While it may not be a film that popped up on a lot of radars, Some Guy Who Kills People feels destined to become a modern horror comedy classic once the right audiences discover it.
4 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5