Ben Lyk has a problem; an aspiring YouTube star who will do anything for likes but more often ends up slapped in the face or publicly humiliated, he finds himself making headlines for the wrong reasons when he wakes up to read a news report which leaves him shaken, that he is been murdered.
An oddity, especially for someone with an uncommon name, to find that their namesake is dead, and as is his modus operandi he immediately shoots and uploads a video commenting on the coincidence, but when the second Ben Lyk dies in hospital, then the third during an online video call, it becomes apparent someone is stalking London with an inexplicable remit: kill Ben Lyk.
Rounded up by the police and housed in a mansion under protective custody, the surviving Ben Lyks try to unravel why they are being targeted, and also to consider that by gathering them the police may have only made them easier to locate, to say nothing of the possibility that the killer may even be amongst them.
The feature directorial debut of Erwan Marinopoulos from a script co-written with Jean-Christophe Establet and Oliver Maltman, Kill Ben Lyk is billed as a comedy horror mystery but would better be described as a mixed bag, a premise whose potential is underdeveloped and with lame jokes plugging up the plot holes.
Vlogger Ben played by Game of Thrones’ Eugene Simon, he is the nominal lead, helpless, hopeless, gormless and self-obsessed and blind to his own privilege in the “small flat” he shares with stoner roommate Roberto (Doctor Who‘s Dimitri Leonidas), easily led by his hormones and incapable of a reasonable or proportionate response to his circumstances.
The rest of the Lyks given one-note characters, Sleazy Ben (Cockneys vs Zombies’ Ashley Thomas), Ex-Military Ben (Stormhouse’s Andrew Hall in is final role), Girl Ben (Simone Ashley), Hipster Ben (Scroobius Pip), Banker Ben (Bruce Mackinnon), Father Ben (Charlie Rawes) and Shouty Ben (Bronson Webb), and the film might be better structured to present a balanced ensemble, but none are so poorly served as Inspector Talisker (Doctor Who’s Gretchen Egolf).
Her role alternating between patronising her subordinates and reading bedtime stories to her child via iPhone, a joke which was barely funny once let alone half a dozen times, that the lead police officer should be portrayed as an idiot could be considered sexist were not her colleagues so equally incompetent, but given the cheap shot laughs of transphobia and homophobia elsewhere it is equally likely the implications never occurred to the filmmakers.
Frustratingly, despite missteps in the attempts at comedy and the drama – the assassin revealed to the viewer by text message and to the characters by a distinctive tattoo, the ease with which the specific Ben could have been determined and tracked – there are moments which indicate the promise of what could have been had the decision by those who wish to kill Ben Lyk not been to aim for a relentlessly juvenile tone.
Kill Ben Lyk is on limited release from Friday 22nd November