Phase 4 Films // 2010 // 91 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // December 14th, 2011
Never Buy A Demon On The Internet.
Three college students, Jim (Stephen Colleti, One Tree Hill), Dixie (Jonathan 'Lil J' McDaniel), and Ginger (Masiela Lusha), pool their money to buy a ghost from an online auction site, little aware of the havoc it has wreaked on the life of its previous owner (Dean Cain, Lois and Clark). Upon receiving, and opening, the casket that supposedly contains the spirit, the friends are disappointed -- though not totally surprised -- when nothing happens. That is until a series of mysterious deaths on campus leads them to question whether they have unwittingly released a vengeful spirit on their friends.
In all honesty, Kill Katie Malone offers little to justify its existence. Beyond the slightly interesting concept of buying a demon online, the film really feels like a patchwork of other horror movies, offering nothing new (or of real value) for fans of the genre.
Putting aside the film's lack of originality, an even bigger problem comes from the remarkable lack of continuity it exhibits, which points to a poorly thought-out story. Nobody, besides the central trio of Ginger, Jim, and Kyle, seems to be aware of the rising body count on campus. Even more troubling is the fact that nobody seems to suspect supernatural goings on, despite an entire class witnessing a girl having her arm severed by a sentient guillotine. Nothing is done to suggest a sense of terror, chiefly due to the decision to focus the plot so squarely on our three protagonists. Other characters are mere fodder, and are introduced only to be bumped off a few seconds later, seemingly with no consequences.
This apparent lack of thought is highlighted further in the way the film attempts to make Katie Malone a sympathetic character by way of flashbacks that reveal the character's origin. Crucially, Kill Katie Malone forgets to offer justification for her spirit's tendency to rip innocent people apart, not to mention the fact that Katie is so rarely seen she is unable to make a connection with the viewer in the same way that, say, Candyman is. Alone, these issues suggest carelessness on behalf of the writers; together they are simply unforgivable.
The acting is generally of a poor quality, though admittedly the cast is not helped by the god-awful dialogue and underwritten roles they are given. The films problems seem to stem from a lack of ambition from the creative talent involved in the film. Kill Katie Malone has a novel enough premise to suggest a half-decent horror, but there's no attempt to really flesh these ideas out, as the film is too quick to rush from one clumsy death scene to the next. This apathy proves contagious, as none of the cast delivers anything but standard direct-to-video horror performances, which become increasingly annoying as the film goes through all the usual well-worn genre tropes. Director Carlos Ramos Jr. (who also contributed the screenplay) fails to elicit any scares with his feature film debut, and frequently stumbles when it comes to developing the narrative as he concentrates far too much time on incidental details. Combined, these elements all serve to undermine what little effect this horror movie is able to make.
Finding the positives in this movie is akin to trying to stop a randy puppy humping your leg: a complete waste of time, though admittedly less messy on one's trouser. Still, in the interests of fairness, it should be pointed out that, considering the film's low budget, the special effects work is decent and, though used sparingly, is able to convey the horror aspects of the film more effectively than the script.
Technically, at least, the DVD impresses with an excellent 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer. Black levels are rock solid, while colors retain a natural appearance. The picture is nothing less than sharp, and detail levels are high. The 5.1 soundtrack contains crisp dialogue, which sits amongst a well-balanced mix. Besides a trailer, there are no special features included on the disc.
Kill Katie Malone is an undercooked horror best avoided. Though far from the worst movie you'll ever see, it is so unremarkable in every department that you'll end up cursing yourself for wasting 90 minutes on it. One finale note: although Dean Cain is given top billing, he is only featured in three scenes totaling no more than 5 minutes.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Phase 4 Films
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R