The flip title of this recent slasher from Anchor Bay, along with the box art which features Kevin Corrigan smiling wickedly while wielding an ice cream cone and a bloody meat cleaver, would have you assume that it’s a broad horror/comedy along the line of, say, The Ice Cream Man. When done well, horror/comedies can be transcendent, and perhaps reach legitimate cult status (hello to every fan of Evil Dead 2, Dead Alive, and Shaun of the Dead). Sadly, the more frequent result of horror/comedy efforts are more along the lines of straight-to-video crap like the lesser offerings of Full Moon Entertainment (The Gingerdead Man, anyone? Evil Bong?), or the cheekier and more poorly thought out flicks in the Troma canon (I have yet to muster the courage for Monsturd). I don’t want to have to bring up Stripperland. The low world of bad, low-budget horror/comedy is a vast, alkali-soaked wasteland of hurt. Not every day is a happy-happy-happy day.
Some Guy Who Kills Peopleis trying to associate with this school. Lord knows why, as it’s actually shoulders above its brethren. And while a few early scenes do try to emphasize the splatstick timing of some of the kills, it soon becomes something that, while not as moving or as deep as the wicked entries of Lucky McKee, is at least more reminiscent of a real movie instead of a cheeky pseudo-satire. Indeed, the entire middle 30 minutes of the film are devoted to the lead character connecting with his estranged daughter, and forming a bond with an understanding romantic interest, and don’t feature and blood or violence. Director Jack Perez may be known (?) for schlock like Wild Things 2, and Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, but here he seems way more interested in the calm comedic drama that takes place in between the bloody bits.
Which is not to say that Some Guy Who Kills People shies away from the bloody bits. There is still a decapitation, numerous stabbings, and a scene with a sassy pathologist (I’ve always wanted to play the sassy pathologist in a movie, haven’t you?). It’s not a bloodfest like some readers of Fangoria Magazine might like, but there are still some decent kills.
Much of the film is buoyed by the performance of Kevin Corrigan in the lead role. Corrigan is a soulful and often intense actor whose career seems to serve as the portrait in Mark Ruffalo’s closet. In Some Guy Who Kills People, he plays the sad sack Ken Boyd, a would-be comic book illustrator, who is working at the local ice cream parlor in Small Town, USA, and is recovering from a suicide attempt and recent stint in the local insane asylum. Ken, we see in flashbacks, was also once properly tortured by some high school classmates (like tied to a chair and cut and beaten), and who may very well be the one who has been recently murdering them off. And while Ken is clearly a bit unstable, he comes across as broody and pathetic more than twitchy and weird. His mother (Karen Black) browbeats him, and is having an affair with the local sheriff (Barry Bostwick, pulling most of the film’s comic weight). When Ken’s long-lost 11-year-old daughter Amy (Ariel Gade) suddenly reappears in his life, he actually begins to soften. Amy is something of an insufferable moppet, but I liked her dialogue. She’s the one who gets Ken to come out of his shell, and arranges a date between him and the pretty Stephanie (Lucy Davis from The Office).
There are some twists and surprises along the way, and I don’t want to give away anything more about the horror violence, or the cute inter-social moments.
Some Guy Who Kills People surprised me with how decent it was. It was handsome to look at, and Corrigan’s performance elevated the otherwise cheap material. I expected average, and got a hair more. Thank goodness.
The film was executive produced by John Landis whose own last three feature films (Burke & Hare, Susan’s Plan, and The Blues Brothers 2000) went largely unseen. Landis is a legend to many people and has, like John Carpenter, been recently shuffled off to the side of the feature film world. I’m glad that he’s at least able to get some films made, and that they’re pretty good ones like Some Guy Who Kills People.