CAPSULE: A group of Los Angeles young professionals is having a baby shower for one of their number. And wouldn't you know it, just when the party is getting going a zombie outbreak spreads to the party neighborhood and nobody knows who will be the next to zombify and turn on the others. Freshman writer and director Alex Drummond manages some unusual touches, but overall the film does not have enough fresh ideas to justify itself. Rating: low +1 (-4 to +4) or 5/10
Comedy usually does not mix well with horror. Almost always one detracts from the other. Usually it is both. Some of the very earliest horror films used comedy to be sure nobody in the audience could take the horror elements in the film too seriously. (Credited as the first horror film is Georges Melies's LE MANOIR DU DIABLE, which was full of humorous editing effects.) Comedies such as WORLD'S END start humorous and end going grim. The filmmakers overcome the pleasant feeling the audience had from the jokes. And zombie horror is an inexpensive addition to a film. The expense of putting zombies in a film need not be very much. Put a prospective actor in old clothes and have him/her limp a little and you can probably get it right on the first take. So it is not surprising that there are a lot of films around that are not much different from KILLER PARTY. Where DAWN OF THE DEAD satirized commercialism before slipping into horror mode, KILLER PARTY pokes fun of the young professionals living in Los Angeles under the shadow of the "Hollywood" sign.
We are at a party for young professionals or people who want to be. About everyone we meet is connected to the entertainment industry in one capacity or another. Most characters are introduced with wording on the screen to tell what they are professionally. The names come thick and fast. But not to worry as here is no quiz later and you get to know who is who by their looks. This group of under-30s are getting together for a baby shower for one of their numbers. In fact, until just recently the film was titled SHOWER. KILLER PARTY is not a very unique title--in fact it was used by at least two other films--but it has more marquee interest value than does the title "SHOWER." The party is fairly fancy and even has a clown for the children of the attendees. And the conversation is not amazing, but it is reasonably whimsical and shares some of the unpleasant aspects of being in the entertainment business.
Then reports of mayhem come in from all parts of the city and we start seeing people drenched in blood. Is there a lot of blood in the film? Yes, there certainly is. Is there violence in the film? Well, yes, quite a bit. But the blood and the violence seem to never be shown in the same scene. That makes it a good deal less bothersome.
The one image that will probably stick with you is the hired clown as one of the first victims of the zombies. A lot of children and perhaps a few adults in the real world find clowns a little scary for some reason. The image of a zombie clown plays off of that fear. The clown sort of reminded me of Heath Ledger's Joker from THE DARK KNIGHT (2008). If you want an effectively scary clown see Alex de la Iglesia's small masterpiece THE LAST CIRCUS (2010).
We have repeated images of zombies coming to the yard where the party was taking place. They just stand there with their backs to the house. It never was explained what that was all about. I suppose leaving some mystery unexplained is a good touch. Drummond does not give a good idea of how much time is passing. It seems like it is all taking place in an afternoon--there are no night shots--but before long the people in the house are running out of food and water. The premise of the baby shower gives a reason for all the people to be present and for the presence of the clown, but is never used beyond that.
In spite of a few humorous moments, this film does not really stand out in any way, watching it is an amiable pastime. IMDB lists three films called KILLER PARTY. There is no strong reason to search for this one. I rate it a low +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 5/10. Killer Party was released August 16.
Film Credits: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2461262/combined
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/killer_party_2014
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2016 Mark R. Leeper