Slasher flicks are a lot like microwave pizza: tasty and slightly satisfying, but generally not very filling and entirely forgettable. And just because you dole out some microwave pizza on a slightly nifty plate -- we're still talking about plain old microwave pizza. And yes, this metaphor is going somewhere.
Kill Theory, the directorial debut of prolific film producer Chris Moore, is a (very) basic slice of microwave pizza, and the (allegedly) nifty plate on which is it served is a gimmick. Kill Theory is, in many ways, a very basic, very familiar tale of "body count in a cabin," and the gimmick is this: instead of a mysterious lunatic who is killing young adults, we have a mysterious lunatic who is forcing a bunch of young adults ... to kill each other.
To clarify: instead of a freak who creeps around the bushes and bludgeons people with garden tools, we have a psycho who tells a group of hard-partying idiots that if they don't kill each other (until there's only one left) by 6:00am, then he'll kill them all. And apparently this kook is pretty talented with a rifle.
The "kill your friends or I'll do it for you" hook, courtesy of first-time screenwriter Kelly Palmer, is pretty much the only new angle, idea, concept (you name it) to be found in Kill Theory, and while the flick does find a few cool uses for their basic little gimmick, the simple truth is that Kill Theory is (in every way) just another slasher flick set in the woods. Judged solely by those standards, Kill Theory is not even remotely new or unique, but for a late-generation slasher retread, it's at least shot reasonably well.
The cast is a mostly generic and familiar group, although you'll recognize the likes of Agnes Bruckner, Taryn Manning, and (briefly) Kevin Gage. None of the actors manage to elevate their stock banter into anything interesting, although the screenplay does pull a few new angles from the "kill or be killed" concept. Obviously the idea of friends offing friends in the name of survival is a potentially juicy one, but Kill Theory has one or two too many sequences in which people just ... sit there ... and discuss things. Occasionally they'll discuss things through screaming, but let's just say there's a small collection of irksome pit-stops on the way towards the crazy kills and the big reveal.
Comfortably basic enough for the old-school slasher fans, Kill Theory is 90% leftovers and 10% new gimmick. Fortunately the early stuff is just watchable enough, and once there's only a small handful of college kids left, that's when things get a lot more interesting. But like the microwave pizza I mentioned back at the start, Kill Theory is best consumed on a bored Tuesday afternoon from the comfort of your own couch.
After Dark Horrorfest is in theaters January 29nd–February 5th and on DVD March 23rd, titles include: ZMD:Zombies of Mass Destruction, The Final, The Graves, Hidden, Dread, Lake Mungo, Kill Theory and The Reeds.