Anchor Bay // 2011 // 97 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // July 13th, 2012
Your Number Is Up.
From its throwaway title to the DVD case's nondescript artwork, there is little to suggest director Jack Perez's (Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus) Some Guy Who Kills People has much to offer. And yet, thanks to the smart screenplay of writer Ryan A. Levin, this is a film just waiting for cult status.
Underneath his quiet demeanour, Ken Boyd (Kevin Corrigan, Pineapple Express) hides a dark past. Having just been released from a mental institution, Ken is attempting to get on with his life, despite the rest of the townsfolk doing their utmost to ensure he doesn't forget his former troubles. However, beneath an otherwise calm exterior, Ken harbors a growing resentment for those who he holds responsible for his breakdown. This results in a rising body count, as Ken's enemies begin turning up dead in increasingly grisly fashion. But when Ken's estranged daughter (Ariel Gade) arrives unexpectedly, he is offered a chance at salvation, so as long as the town's Sheriff (Barry Bostwick, The Rocky Horror Picture Show) doesn't track him down first.
Initially playing out as a fairly standard low-budget serial killer flick, Some Guy Who Kills People soon begins to distinguish itself from the pack thanks to its wit, style, and ambition. That last point is particularly important, as so few films (particularly those which fall under the horror banner) dare to add anything new to the mix. In some respects, the film is reminiscent of the excellent Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, taking well-worn genre tropes and subtly reconfiguring them to deliver that most rare of beasts: a horror movie that feels fresh.
A large chunk of the film's charm comes from the pairing of Kevin Corrigan and Ariel Gade as the dysfunctional father and daughter. Thanks to their relationship, Some Guy Who Kills People is a rare comedy-horror that can actually be called sweet. The fact that such a dark cloud sits over them only adds to the ever changing dynamic of their relationship. Corrigan's performance is particularly strong, and is the exceptional case of an apparent serial killer also being a sympathetic character. Corrigan's Ken Boyd is a broken man, just as likely to take his own life as he is that of his high school tormentors. His quiet, introverted demeanor is touching, making it very easy to side with him, as he takes cheap shot after cheap shot from those who would do him harm. Youngster Ariel Gade is a revelation as Boyd's daughter, Amy. Her peppy outgoing nature is in sharp contrast to that of her father, and it is she who initially brings the unexpected warmth to the picture.
The rest of the cast provides more than capable backup, with Barry Bostwick in fine form as the bumbling Sheriff. Bostwick has fine comedic timing and is perfectly in tune with the film's dark sense of humor. Lucy Davis (Shaun of the Dead) has a small, but vital role as a potential love interest, bringing to the table a quirkiness that fits in perfectly.
Veering far more into comedy, Some Guy Who Kills People is nevertheless able to ramp up the tension when needed, with key moments that match most horror movies stride for stride (like when Amy comes to suspect her father really is a killer). The kill scenes -- of which there are barely a handful -- are played mostly for laughs, but still employ a liberal amount of gore. Buckets of the stuff are thrown around, as heads are severed, throats slit, and axes implanted firmly in the victim's head.
My only real criticism of Some Guy Who Kills People is the way it forces itself into a corner during the final act; specifically due to a major plot development that doesn't sit quite right. I understand why the decision was made, but the twist comes out of the blue and relies far too much on a succession of coincidences to truly work.
Anchor Bay's DVD release features a solid standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, which handles the frequent darker scenes well. Detail levels are good, with strong, bold colors. The Dolby 5.1 Surround mix does its job with little fuss.
In terms of bonus material, writer Ryan A. Levin and director Jack Perez reunite to deliver a commentary full of fun anecdotes and interesting insights. A "Making Of" featurette sees Perez talk about his enthusiasm for the film (dating back to the Super 8 movies he made as a kid) with plenty of behind-the-scenes footage and storyboards to flesh the piece out. Perhaps of most interest is The Fifth, the short film that inspired Some Guy Who Kills People.
Some Guy Who Kills People is one of those unexpected gems that lurk amongst the rabble on DVD retail shelves, just waiting for the more discerning film lover to discover. Well worth a look...and not just for horror fans. This one comes highly recommended.
Review content copyright © 2012 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Short Film