Case Number 18600: Small Claims Court


Lionsgate // 2009 // 85 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Tom Becker (Retired) // March 26th, 2010

The Charge

Deep down, we are all killers.

The Case

If Kill Theory were any more generic, it would come in a plain, white box marked Slasher DVD. It's neither a bad movie nor an especially good one; it's just so forgettable that it requires multiple viewings just to talk about it over a cup of coffee.

We open with a faceless killer talking to a shrink. Killer is about to be released from prison psych ward, but Shrink insists they continue their sessions anyway. Killer's Krime: During a mountain climbing trip, he cut loose three of his fellow climbers, and they fell screaming to their deaths. But he's awful sorry, and convinced that "anyone would have done the same thing." Apparently, it was a "them or me" situation.

We then join our group of bourgeoning new victims already in progress -- an octet of recent college grads out for a laugh at one of those vacation homes that's "50 miles from the nearest neighbor" and, naturally, innocent of all cell phone signals. Why daft mountaineer decides to use them to prove his Kill Theory is a question you might not think to ask, although it's answered in what here amounts to a twist ending. No matter...We're here for a few plot rudiments, a little sex, and lots of gore.

Plot Rudiments
After subjecting us to the usual, insignificant 90210-style angst that typically fills out the running time of these things between kills -- this one dated that one, that one wants to date this one, and so on -- Killer McGee shows up and turns one of our feckless friends into bloodied mass of gelatin. Through the magic of video and an uncanny knowledge of the geography of the house, he informs the survivors that they are to kill each other for the next three hours, and whoever is left standing gets to live. If they don't kill each other, then he will come and kill all of them. It's that simple. Apparently banking on these kids getting their survival skills from every bad slasher movie they've watched since infancy, he's able to anticipate their every move, which means he can do cool things like set up spike-heavy traps in places he astutely reasons they'll tread and sit back as they hesitantly pick one another off. Since they've already engaged in...

A Little Sex
...including a feeble attempt at kink and few seconds of bared breasts, he's created a situation that can only result in...

Lots of Gore
Kill Theory does give us an acceptable level of the red stuff. Krazy Killer's traps are ludicrous but entertaining and help keep the grue level fairly high; also, there are a couple of drawn-out deaths, so we get to see the boring kids whimper a bit.

Unfortunately, Kill Theory lacks any real suspense or sense of fun. It takes itself very seriously, but it's hard for the audience to take seriously since the characters are all pretty one-note. They act as stupidly as any bunch of doomed campers, but that exhilarating kind of over-the-top horror is absent. I think the idea was to give us more realistic characters, but when the whole point of the film is to see people graphically slaughtered, it's easier and more interesting to keep track of The Slutty Girl, The Horny Guy, The Prankster, The Virgin, and other such slasher archetypes than these indistinct, slightly brooding partiers.

Kill Theory is one of this year's "8 Films to Die for" from After Dark Horrorfest. Lionsgate gives it a respectable release: solid anamorphic picture and good audio, a featurette in which the cast and director laud the production, some deleted scenes that make no sense in the context of the finished film, and a trailer.

The Verdict

A reasonable, if forgettable, slasher gets a decent release. Blah.

Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2010 Tom Becker; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 60

Perp Profile
Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

* English
* Spanish

Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Deleted Scenes
* Featurette
* Trailer

* IMDb