Monday, 26 October 2015



The most important thing to say about this new (though actually not all that new, as it was copyrighted back in 2011 according to the end credit crawl) Australian comedy horror is that it isn't even faintly funny. It admittedly qualifies as a horror movie, through the traditional slasher technique of lining up a bunch of annoying people and killing them off in gleefully unpleasant ways, but the jokes die more painfully than any of them. Comedy and horror are probably the two genres that are hardest to combine in one movie, and The Killage gets it wrong from the first frame.

You can't laugh with any of these people unless there's a trace of empathy to be had with them, and they're drawn so cartoonishly and played so broadly that it's impossible to see them as anything but the crudest of TV sketch caricatures. The Satanic goth chick, the abusive wheelchair guy, the freakishly well-endowed simpleton (who spends most of the second half of the film naked for no good reason beyond comedy), the stoner who constantly denies it: they could all be recurring characters off Little Britain or similar. In The Killage, they're part of a corporate weekend at a remote woodland camp, vying to become team leader over their colleagues. But it's not long before an unseen maniac starts killing them off in unusual ways....

The "office team-building exercise gone wrong" idea brings to mind Severance, but The Killage is just not in that film's league. As a slasher spoof it's closer in tone to I Know How Many Runs You Scored Last Summer (admittedly, that's from New Zealand rather than Australia) than Scary Movie which riffs on specific movies and specific scenes; this has a couple of meta-jokes about modern horror tropes, and is more in the vein of Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday The 13th but nowhere near as funny. But it's clearly a labour of love for Joe Bauer who wrote, co-produced, directed, edited, co-photographed, co-cast, sound mixed and took a leading role in the film (he also did the visual effects, and wrote and performed the end credits song). Maybe he spread himself too thinly?

Sadly, it's the puerile streak of lowest common denominator humour that kills it. Toilet jokes, vomit jokes, knob jokes, fart jokes, bottoms and boobs jokes - the kind of "poo willy bum knickers" thing that's infinitely hilarious when you're ten years old, but has no business in movies aimed ostensibly at grown ups. In other words, if you're young enough to still think that's funny then you're actually too young to see it. The film actually begins with the Australian MA15+ certificate, which in the UK would be the equivalent of a 15A; frankly I'm surprised the BBFC let it through with a 15. The gore is excessive and most of it is entirely gratuitous (one bit of business is straight out of Monster Man), which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the CGI splatter looks as terrible as you'd expect and at 102 minutes it's noticeably on the long side. Still, it won "Best In Festival" at the 2011 Crystal Palace International Film Festival, which I confess I didn't know even existed, and I'm now mildly intrigued as to what the runner-up was.


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