Anonymous Killers Movie Review
Written by Joanna K. Neilson
Released by Amirah Films
Written and directed by A.R. Hilton
2020, 100 minutes, Rated RATING
DVD released on DATE
Andrew Bongiorno as Sean
Manu Intiraymi as Vladimir
Natassia Halabi as Marlene Gunthery
Erica Manni as Alina Dukova
Who the hell do you root for when everyone is basically evil?
That’s the groin-kickingly tough question here, as the premise of a watered-down Saw movie butts heads with a poor-me anthology about what makes someone into a killer – or more specifically, into a ruthless killer for hire –for kicks.
It starts much like many films evoking the Saw series. A hapless Psychology Professor wakes up tied to a chair in a room with four other strangers (the barbed wire bondage is a nice touch). Then their host, a smug, sub-Ted Raimi-type, appears to explain the situation in more detail. This gang of murderers were captured to provide a true trial of their peers. They’re all there to decide who’s least-worst... and a very horrible fate will await those who fail to provide a convincing sob-story. Although the horrible fate isn’t really made explicit, so it loses a lot of the initial threat. Weirdly, their smarmy host seems more interested in getting a confession out of his captive Professor, insisting there’s more to him than meets the eye. But has he got it wrong about the one man who appears innocent?
Anyway, on with the trial...
Each murderer is forced to talk, and so we get an anthology of back stories – mostly tragic – learning how each of them got on their dark path to murder, misery and mayhem.
And that’s kind of it. And while they do all have very sympathetic lives, the premise of which piece of human garbage deserves to live didn’t really work for me. Unlike Saw, these explanatory flashbacks take us outside the room, so any potential claustrophobia is entirely lost. There’s plenty of sympathy for the devils here, but the only reaction we can give to that is – so what?
While the point is that something broke each of these people in fundamental ways, and their kill-count is probably way lower than James Bond’s or a really tired ER doctor, there’s just not a lot to feel for. They’re mostly too burned out for their potential deaths to be a hook. And the Professor is convincingly pathetic. Still, I had some flashbacks to the Predators movie, of all things. Another gang of unlikeable killers – only they were against a much more impressive force. These killers don’t get much to do beyond beg for their lives, and flashbacks are overused. It’s this which turns it into more of an anthology than a film with any real tension about who will survive.
But you’re still probably gonna think the one with the cute dogs is who they should save.
More positively, there are some pretty good performances here, and it looks good all the way through. You may have more tolerance for the ultimate anti-heroes shown here but, while it has a strong idea and a lot of work behind it, it isn’t quite polished or tense enough to hit the spot.
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