Killington Movie Review

Written by Jamie Van Hove

Released by Gnar Bois

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Directed by Mark Dudzinski, Frank Perz and Matt Vita
Written by Grace Day and Matt Vita
2024, 87 minutes, Not Yet Rated
Panic Fest 2024 screening on 8th April 2024

Starring:
Sophie Sumner as Kali
Sam Morales as Darcy
Sarah Faye Beard as Emily

Review:

Four friends win a weekend in the country with their favourite online influencer, the yoga-expounding, white-robe-wearing Kali. That’s the premise of Killington, a feature directed by Mark Dudzinzki and Frank Perz, written by Grace Day and Matt Vita.

As the film set up, I thought I could guess how it’d play out. Surely a timely excuse to send up the Paltrow set, an evisceration of New Age cosmic grifter Woo-Woo? Maybe the zen-influenced influencer will be unmade by proximity to normies, letting us see the true madness that lies behind their impermeable icy shell? Hopefully Kali will kill her followers, I thought.

Kind of but not quite. The writers clearly had a bead on this New Age skewering, but something blocks the shot. There’s a sense of all characters being hated equally, a meanness towards not only Kali, but to those taken in by her hippy wiles. The only character given something of a sympathetic slant is unhappy actress, Dasha, proficiently played by Sam Morales, who worries she’s selling her soul for celebrity. (I do think calling the influencer Kali is something of a giveaway as to how things are liable to go down. It’s not as if Kali’s status as Hindu goddess of death and destruction is occult esoteric knowledge.)

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Anyway, the weekend isn’t a great success. Some of the friends have been looking forward to a getaway packed with drinking and fun rather than breath control and sun saluting. Kali is disgusted by people’s meat eating and shallowness. Travis, the clichéd creepy hick neighbour who’s been charged with looking after the rented property, lurks semi-permanently and seems to have taken a bit of a shine to Darcy.

All in all, it’s a bit of an unsatisfying mess. It’s unclear quite what Killington wants to be. Horror? Satire? Comedy? Or a hotchpotch of all three, which is where the film lands up, with none of these strands given enough focus to shine.

Although a lover of horror films, I’m also a real shitbag. If I’m alone, I generally have to watch scary movies in the daytime, even then I sometimes have to switch them off at tense moments and wait for my partner to come home and hopefully watch the rest with me. With Killington I didn’t feel a single tingle of fear and shouldn’t a film featuring five women and a creepy neighbour cut off in the middle of nowhere have engendered just a little chill in one so nervy as I? But no, my most noticeable emotion was confusion, if that is indeed an emotion.

About two thirds of the way through the film, a stripper appears and the four friends finally get to let their hair down, rock out, quaff some booze and snort some cocaine. I got to puzzling over who’d brought the cocaine – maybe the stripper, I surmised, then wondering if narcotics supply was a profitable stripper sideline. Maybe this mental flight of fancy I underwent illustrates how uncaptivated I was by Killington, even by what is clearly intended as a pivotal scene.

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Plot-wise, there are some holes that it wouldn’t take a nitpicker to unstitch; important stuff, like causality and character motivation and the reason why the events in the film take place in the order they take place in. The killer’s motivation doesn’t ring true and I’d say that’s a major weakness for what’s ostensibly, allegedly, a slasher film. Whilst I’m not looking to a supposedly horror film like Killington for a slice-of-verité-life, it’d be nice if there was just a wee bit of heft or rationale behind the film’s raison d’etre.

In the end, I preferred my imagining of how this film was going to play out. There might be a good movie in there somewhere, something lean, mean and timely, but Killington is sadly a bit of a misfire.

Grades:

Movie: 2.5 Star Rating Cover
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