SXSW Film Festival Movie Review: 68 KILL

Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the dark comedy 68 KILL by writer/director Trent Haaga.  To best describe the story I will turn to my own plot summary:

"Liza talks her boyfriend Chip into helping her rob her sugar-daddy of $68,000.  When Liza shows her unstable side during the robbery, Chip goes on the run with the money and a kidnapped hostage." 

Within the last two weeks I have seen a few things with AnnaLynne McCord and I am beginning to realize that she is someone worth my attention.  She is absolutely captivating here as the sexy yet deadly Liza who gets whatever she wants by either charming or slitting throats.  The fact that she adds a manic glee to the character keeps things light even as the bodies begin to fall. 

Overall, though, the acting in this feature was incredibly solid and helped to boost the proceedings from interesting to entertaining.  Matthew Gray Gubler as the fickle boyfriend is absolutely hilarious while Alisha Boe as his hostage plays the perfect antithesis to McCord's Liza.  It is watching these relationships change and morph that makes this a fun view because we keep waiting for the next turn of the screw to see how the characters will weather the storm. 

The action itself is a fairly typical robbery gone bad that gets a new spin based upon the idea that the character of Chip keeps getting himself into trouble with women.  During the course of the film we watch how each encounter he has with the female sex leads to some heady new consequences.  As we watch it becomes clear that the issue is really Chip, who is willing to do whatever any woman says as long as his sexual appetite is sated.  While this could make him seem unlikable, he is seen more as a bumbling, put upon guy that just cannot get away from his own lusts. 

From a composition standpoint, this is a nicely polished piece that brings flair to the junky cars and trailer homes that inhabit its frames.  It is hard not to notice the care given to this feature when we see such high end effects or costuming constantly applied.  The fact that such high production values are applied to trailer trash characters creates a dichotomy that only further enforces the humor. 

Speaking of the humor, I have to admit that the jokes here often had me laughing.  Part of the joy was that instead of being one liner dependent, they relied upon the character reactions to the increasingly nutty circumstances to wring out a laugh.  I realize that this sort of humor is not for everyone, but given the crazy double takes and how ridiculous some of the roles are, I thought it played wonderfully. 

All in all, this is a fun little romp with a bloody side.  Strong performances and production values keep us engaged as things spin further and further out of control.  People who would like to see the characters of RAISING HOPE (2010) embrace the biting edge of THE WAR OF THE ROSES (1989) would do well to give this a look. 

Nighty Nightmares, 
The Creeping Craig