27th May2019

‘Killer Party’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Sam Strike, Erin Moriarty, Robin Tunney, Julian McMahon, Lance Reddick, Virginia Gardner, Kian Lawley | Written and Directed by Chris von Hoffman


When three teenage thieves infiltrate a mansion dinner party they have plans for pulling off an easy and lucrative heist. Little do they know that the dinner party is actually hosted for a group of recovering serial killers that have gone ‘sober’ and fought to change the error of their ways. Once the mansion owners realise they are about to be robbed all hell breaks loose.

I love home invasion movies. Even moreso when those whose homes are being invaded are not quite who or, in some cases, what they appear. Taking the typical home invasion flick and turning it on its head by having the hunters become the hunted usually makes for some intriguing, exciting storytelling. Especially when said homeowners are as blatantly evil as the antagonists, essentially pitting villain vs villain, rather than hero versus villain. And such is the case with Killer Party.

Sold with the tagline “This is no ordinary dinner party, this is a killer party,” writer/director Chris von Hoffman’s film posists a VERY intriguing premise – what kind of cinematic insanity would ensue if wannabe gangster teens interrupt an AA-style meeting for recovering serial killers? And what if those killers included the likes of Lance Reddick and Julian McMahon among their number? Two actors who can play crazy like nobody’s business and both of whom chew up each and every scene they’re in. In the best possible way of course!

It takes almost half of the film to even establish any of the out-there premise. Yes, the party-going characters are all a little “weird” from the get-go but the focus is, for the most part, on the three would be thieves. Now some might say that it’s actually something of a slow build but in reality we’re actually being kept in the dark as to our antagonists intent as much as our trio of teens are. They think they’re invading a snobbish party and the attendees act like one might think snobbish people do. If you’ve read the synopsis you know that’s not the case and you’re left anticipating… something.

It’s interesting though just how much tension is truly built up in that first half because of ssid anticipation. Once our thieves rock up to the party everything feels off, the audience knows somethings not right, something just feels wrong – to the point where anticipation almost turns to wariness. Kudos to Hoffman for crafting such a uniquely odd and foreboding atmosphere before letting everything come to a head. Oh, and when everything and everyone does snap… Damn! It’s a brutal switch-up in proceedings that at once pays off the audiences anticipation and sets up the thrilling tension for what’s to come; and when you think you know what’s about to come, writer/director Chris von Hoffman throws out a curveball that raises not only the stakes for our protagonists but the sheer insanity of this film.

Of course this particular set of psychopaths are all seemingly well-off: living in bigh houses, driving fancy cars and wearing expensive clothes. Meanwhile the three theives are the complete opposite, with their leader Casper (Sam Strike) seemingly only in the thieving game to pay off his father’s gambling debts and keep him alive. Its an obvious, some might say overstated, metaphor for the class divisions in society – the rich feeding off the poor etc., etc., and getting away with it, in this case however it’s feeding their insane lust for murder. And speaking of murder, Killer Party really knows how to roll out the gore, with some remarkably grotesque set-pieces that will please gorehounds everywhere, especially considering all the practical effects work on display here!

A fantastic entry into horror’s socially-concious echelons Killer Party is out now on DVD and Digital in the UK from Altitude.


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