Pity the poor filmmaker who feels inspired to tell a tale through the method known as "dark comedy." Not a horror film with a little bit of glibness or a freaky farce that happens to deal with horror film tropes -- but an out-and-out black comedy that treats death and murder like standard comedy fodder. The problem with black comedy is that you're often alienating half of your audience right off the bat, and the half that remains -- the hearty flick fans who don't mind mortality mixed with mirth -- are expecting a lot from your potentially unpleasant concoction.
Good news for fans of the black comedy: the recent indie Some Guy Who Kills People is a smoothly confident concoction of quick-witted weirdness, morbid dashes of alleged levity, and surprisingly insightful emotion. In the wrong hands this could be one painful mixture to deal with, but director Jack Perez, screenwriter Ryan Levin, and lead actor Kevin Corrigan combine to deliver one unexpectedly weird and winning little indie.
Mr. Corrigan, whom you no doubt recognize from dozens of films, is Ken Boyd. Ken is two things at once: A) a sad-sack loser who lives with his disapproving mom (Karen Black) and has just come to discover that he has a pre-teen daughter (Ariel Gade) to deal with, and B) a ruthlessly violent murderer who exacts vicious revenge on the men who once tormented Ken in high school. Introduce a potential love interest (Lucy Davis) and a pair of not-so-bumbling cops (Eric Price and Barry Bostwick), and you've got a low-budget, high-energy dark comedy ensemble that, frankly, is a whole lot cooler than its premise suggests.
Despite some clearly morbid leanings (it IS about a murder, after all) Some Guy Who Kills People manages to dig into something simple but sincere ideas about alienated fathers, self-respect, and the simple ability to simply like ones' self. Yes, in between the witty cop banter and the frequent murders, the movie is actually about something. Much of the praise goes to Corrigan's performance, and the canny veteran realizes that if he plays Ken too quiet, it's creepy, and if he goes too broad, the darker edges of the farce will be destroyed. The actor receives ample support from the likes of Karen Black (she spits out some painfully caustic -- and funny -- drops of dialogue) and Barry Bostwick, who strikes a welcome balance between consistently befuddled and legitimately intelligent.
Surprisingly sweet for a movie about a murderer and unexpectedly dark for a comedy about a deadbeat dad, Some Guy Who Kills People is a sharp little genre-blender that somehow manages to deliver character-based comedy amidst a mild pile of carnage.