Killer Party

Life is what you make it; in their house on the hill, the Dawson family live a life of luxury their mansion and its grounds protected by security cameras and high walls and gate as Elliot and Alexis sun themselves by the pool and parents Patrick and Roxanne prepare for the killer party they will be hosting the following night.

Down in the streets below, the coolest that Casper’s life gets is listening to music as he pedals his way to meet his friends and accomplices Iris and Dodge, a step above petty criminals as they engage in breaking and entering in upmarket neighbourhoods, Iris doubling as lookout and distraction out front.

Casper’s father in deep debt and deeper trouble, Iris persuades them to aim for a higher target at the party she is working catering, an exclusive affair for a very specific group hosted by the fastidious Patrick Dawson, the reunion frustrated by the antagonism brought to the dinner table by his competitive guests and triggered by Casper setting off the alarm system, trapping all inside.

Written and directed by Chris von Hoffmann, Killer Party is his second feature, a dissection of the interface between the elite of society and those who enter their houses to serve at their pleasure, but where those on the lower rungs of the ladder would be prosecuted for their crimes the Dawson’s guests are recovering addicts whose particular vice is murder.

With Nightflyers‘ Sam Strike and Project Almanac‘s Virginia Gardner as Casper and Iris, Childhood’s End‘s Julian McMahon is creepy host Patrick and The Mentalist‘s Robin Tunney is Roxanne, long-suffering but resigned to her self-created limbo, telling a story over dinner of a homeless man whom she didn’t kill, expecting recognition for her act of mercy.

While daughter Alexis (Jessica Jones’ Erin Moriarty, soon to be seen in The Boys) is looking for a way out of the madhouse of her family, brother Elliot (Kian Lawley) is sneering and volatile, only too keen to take advantage of the deteriorating situation to indulge himself as Jeremy, Cameron and Ollie (The Rezort‘s Jamie Ward, Stranger Things‘ Chester Rushing and Scream Queens‘ Diego Boneta) set about rearranging each other’s perfect faces.

The premise interesting if somewhat far-fetched, Killer Party could have worked had von Hoffman developed his characters or the situation, but after wasting the overlong build up to the bloodshed with lingering shots of vapid pretty people he then allows the film to immediately devolve into a winner-takes-all slasher fest.

The single moment of silliness involving a chainsaw failing to make it a comedy, Killer Party is neither scary nor engaging emotionally or stylistically, the idea that “the rich really are different” having been satirised more effectively and entertainingly in Society, and this is one party better sat out in the kitchen.

Killer Party is available on DVD and download from Altitude now



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