Baseline Killer (2009)
Reviewed by The Foywonder
Starring a bunch of people with nothing to be proud of
Written & Directed by Ulli Lommel
Baseline Killer is the cautionary tale of what happens when someone puts a new Ulli Lommel movie in their Netflix queue before realizing the movie in question was directed by Ulli Lommel and then completely forgets to remove it from their queue before its too late. I thought I'd officially announced my retirement from reviewing Ulli Lommel productions with Killer Nurse (review) but since I screwed up and Netflix sent me his latest piece of artistry, I look upon it as God's way of saying, "No, Foy, your work is not done. Just one more." With no burning bush around to toss the DVD into, I chose to put Baseline Killer into my DVD player and pay my penance. And pay I did. Ulli Lommel is to quality cinema what a case of scorching herpes is to great sex.
This is the latest Ulli Lommel opus inspired very loosely on a true-life serial killer. I've personally never heard of the "Baseline Killer" - named so for committing his murders along Baseline Road in Phoenix, Arizona - and after looking him up on Wikipedia following my viewing of this film I find myself wondering if Lommel had ever heard of him either outside of the name. For starters, the real Baseline Killer was an African American construction worker. The Baseline Killer of Lommel's fictionalized film looks like Michael Rooker made-up as an old Dick Tracy villain version of Tom Petty. What the hell was up with that stupid bowler hat he wore?
Suffice to say nothing that occurs in the interminable 78-minute running time of Baseline Killer has anything to do with the actual facts of the case. More importantly, nothing occurs in the 78-minute running time that amounts to anything resembling an actual movie. Plotless, pointless, acted and lensed with all the professionalism of an amateur gonzo porno flick. This man has been making movies since before I was even born and he still churns out abysmal crap shot will less professionalism than many first year film school student projects.
The only thing I'll give Lommel any credit for this time is that he doesn't go full speed ahead thinking he's making an art film like he's done with Killer Nurse and Diary of a Cannibal (review). It did appear this time that Ulli Lommel was trying to invent an entirely new subgenre of cinema I would dare dub "Mumblegore". For those unfamiliar, "mumblecore" is an ultra low budget indie cinema movement characterized by twenty-something actors improvising dialogue that's all about their interpersonal relationships. That's what this feels like until the women begin to suffer gory deaths at the hands of a serial killer.
A group of women gather for a reunion of sorts - reunion of what is never specified - within a furniture outlet store (The name of the business even gets a special thank you in the closing credits) that soon find themselves trapped inside with a serial killer very slowly stalking them with a sniper rifle. We are initially forced to listen to these ladies talk about whatever and let me assure you "whatever" truly encompasses the words that come out of their collective mouths. All the while a psycho very slowly skulks about the warehouse for at least 15-minutes and then spends another five-plus minutes just standing there with his gun aimed. Lommel cannot even keep the continuity straight regarding the killer's location during all this.
Finally, something happens. The lights go out and the killer hilariously yells, "I'm back bitches and hoes! Back with a vengeance! Ha! Ha! Ha!" Shots ring out and when the lights come back on they find a dead body. This lights out/loud noises/dead body discovery process repeats for the remainder of the film. The monotony broken up only by a brief section where the remaining women sit on a couch to experience artsy asides reflecting upon their boyfriends and sick mommas.
With more than a twinge of misogyny flowing through its veins even before the killing begins, Lommel appeared to also have so much contempt for the intelligence of these women that prior to the first attack he has the hiding killer shine a bright flashlight at them from a distance and these ladies that I was led to believe had IQ's at least in the double digits were forced to keep asking the woman at the time with the light floating around her face what exactly that, as if it were some sort of moving blemish that suddenly broke out on their face. Not once do any of them talk as if they realize this is being generated by a beam of light or ever bother to look in the direction it might be coming from. Then again, this could have just been a sign of Lommel's utter contempt for every human being that ever makes the mistake of watching one of his films.
We could all have used some more of that flashlight action given large chunks of this film can barely even be seen since Lommel shoots them in near pitch darkness. A serial killer slasher movie where you never actually see any of the killing because they all happen off-camera under cover of darkness? And Lommel expects audiences to be entertained by this how exactly? Or maybe he doesn't and cynically looks upon his productions as all part of the great scam he's been running these past few years that continues to put money in his pocket and his unwatchable film-like creations on DVD shelves nationwide.
I was all prepared to write "If you've seen one Ulli Lommel movie then you've seen them all" but I think a more appropriate spin on that phrase would be "If you've seen one Ulli Lommel movie you've already seen one Ulli Lommel movie too many." At this point merely bestowing another Ulli Lommel affront to filmmaking with a zero knives rating is fruitless. I always seem to find myself writing the words "Fuck this movie!" at the end of a Ulli Lommel review so I think it is high time to create a brand new edition to the Dread Central ratings system to be used only on the most special occasions and I cannot think of an occasion more highly appropriate to debut this new rating than right here, right now.
out of 5
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