Some Guy Who Kills PeopleReviewed By Jay Seaver
Posted 04/23/12 14:40:26
SCREENED AT THE 2012 BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL: Funny thing about the festival circuit; a movie can be there for a while - I missed seeing this at Montreal's Fantasia Festival last July, catching "The Innkeepers" instead. I don't regret seeing that at all, but I was lucky to get a second chance to see "Some Guy Who Kills People" on a big screen with a crowd, because it is hilarious. Heck, it would be a pretty darn entertaining movie even without all the murder.Ken Boyd (Kevin Corrigan) has recently returned from an extended stay in a mental hospital, and he's living a quiet life - working at the local ice cream shop with his high-school buddy Irv (Leo Fitzpatrick), drawing comics in his spare time, and enduring the withering sarcasm of his mother Ruth (Karen Black). He's about to have his quiet routine thrown by a pair of ladies entering his life - Stephanie (Lucy Davis), who is just out of a bad marriage; and Amy (Ariel Gade), the twelve-year-old daughter he's never had any contact with. And if that's not complicated enough, the Sheriff (Barry Bostwick) is making time with Ken's mother, and he can't possibly miss the correlation between Ken's late-night excursions and the dead bodies of the guys who tormented him in high school forever.
This movie has a lot of things going for it, but tops among them is the ensemble cast. Barry Bostwick, for instance, has been playing puffed-up doofs for years, but his sheriff is a masterpiece of the form. He hits every joke square on the nose, but also makes a character that could be nothing but a deadpan goof surprisingly well-rounded as the movie goes along. Karen Black absolutely kills as the mean mom character, which can often be played as just nasty, but here is genuinely funny as well. And Ariel Gade is absolutely fantastic - she pours boundless energy into Amy, making the precocious girl everything that's wonderful and optimistic about kids without ever getting on the audience's nerves and occasionally showing us the character hurting. They all play well against each other, too - Bostwick's banter with Eric Price is fantastic, while Gade bounces off Black and Davis just as well as she does star Kevin Corrigan.
The cast is good enough to frequently overshadow Kevin Corrigan as the... well, not sane center that the craziness revolves around, but the guy whose issues are at the middle of the story. Corrigan's low-key enough to almost get swallowed up by the rest of the movie, but eventually that comes across as part of the character - he's deliberately subdued, trying to avoid notice. So while he's not getting the big laughs everyone else is, he's also giving a good enough performance that when his character does let it all hang out, those scenes manage to tie everything together.
These guys have good material to work with, too. Writer Ryan Levin does a very nice job of laying out what seems like a straightforward situation out in the beginning and coming up with unexpected ways for things to play out without the movie ever becoming all about the twist. Five minutes seldom go by without at least one really good line, and the set-up is a good balance of off-kilter quirkiness and down-to-earth familiarity.
He and director Jack Perez do occasionally struggle to reconcile the grisly serial murder plot with the zippy comedy and slapstick going on alongside it; the film spends a fair amount of time feeling like two very different takes awkwardly stitched together rather than the full-on black comedy that it apparently should feel like, although by the end of the film, it all certainly feels correct in retrospect. Perez and company have comic timing to match that of the cast and make the jump to slasher sequences without a hitch, and occasionally do a genuinely amazing job of getting everything to work together - one of the murder sequences drops a few huge laughs in without messing up two different kinds of tension, for instance.Movies like "Some Guy Who Kills People" often have a hard time hitting the multiplexes - playing a series of festivals whose audiences are known to be friendly toward this sort of genre material is their equivalent to a theatrical release. It deserves to at least be stumbled upon, though: Movies this genuinely funny and well-assembled don't come around every day.
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