Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Killer View Snuffs Out Cost Effective Victims

Killer View (aka Snuffed)

In an age of the internet, twenty-four hour news stations, and cops shows such as the CSI franchise, it is rather tough to make serial killers menacing in films. Nowadays it is often the elaborate ways people die, and not the killer themselves, that get the most reaction. So how do you get sophisticated audiences to become engaged with the killer and not the act? Well in director Brian James O’Connell’s case, you simply let the serial killer do all the talking.

In his independent horror flick, Killer View (aka Snuffed), O’Connell takes the audience into the world of a serial killer through the killer’s own eyes. The film is shot documentary style and is set up in a “found footage” type of manner. An aspiring journalist, Martin Monahan (Martin Moakler), has gone missing. Days later a mysterious video arrives at the police station detailing that Monanhan had been working on a documentary about a sociopath serial killer who goes by the name of Ben (Noah Key). Unlike most serial killers, Ben videotapes his crimes and sells them to rich folks in L.A. who take pleasure in watching his twisted work. As the footage plays on, not only does it provide insight into Ben’s method of operation, but also clues to what exactly happened to Monahan.

Killer View is an interesting horror film in the sense that it aims for more psychological chills than it does visual gore. In fact, there is little actual on screen violence. Everything is handled off screen, which is surprising effective for this film. Even the most jarring and disturbing scene in the entire film, the opening sequence which is featured twice in the film, is more unsettling from a mental perspective rather than a visual one.

By not exploiting violence, O’Connell is able to focus more on the documentary aspects of the film which is really its strength. One of the enjoyable things about Killer View is that you never see Ben’s face. This allows the film to provide that eerie “he could be anyone” vibe. O’Connell should also be credited with making Ben such an intelligent character. He is not a serial killer who hears voices, had a dramatic experience as a child, or any of the numerous clichés that often appear in films like this. In fact, Ben is easily the smartest person in the film. He is logical in every situation and looks at his role as being someone who provides a service for others.

Ben is what helps to keep Killer View a float. The film’s premise is surprisingly good, but there some moments that hinder the film. First off, when dealing with a “found footage” type of film one must always be weary not to put in too much extraneous content. While it is nice a twist that Ben has obviously edited the footage that the viewer is watching, there are several scenes that run on far longer than they need to be. A perfect example of this is when one of the victims, April (Whitney Powell), is pleading for her life and Ben is deciding what to do. The significance of the scene is apparent within the first few seconds, yet the scene is dragged out rather senselessly.

Another issue that effects the film is that the performances of the supporting actors are not as strong as they should be. There is a scene in the film where Ben is forcing an adulterous husband, Robert (Brahm Gallagher) to call his mistress April, while his tided up wife, Julie (Maija Polsely), watches. Julie is too calm in this scene, especially when Ben is threatening to kill them both. When Julie does finally get hysterical it comes too late and feels rather forced. It would have also been nice if Gallagher had provided a more convincing performance.

Despite this, Killer View ended up being far more interesting than I was expecting from a film like this. It has its rough patches in regards to the acting and minor plot point issues, but it does offer a unique take on the serial killer genre that works surprisingly well. While flawed, Killer View does have enough interesting moments to keep hardcore fans of the genre engaged for a few hours.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.