Wednesday 12 November 2008

LIFF screening: Sexykiller

Sexykiller marks the first time I’ve bought a ticket for a movie without knowing anything about it beforehand. And by that I really mean nothing. Nada. Not even the title, making it officially 97.5 times more mysterious than that time I watched Intersection and didn’t know what it was going to be about. Or how dull it was going to be. You see, Sexykiller was this year’s surprise horror screening at the Leeds International Film Festival... I pays my money, I takes my chances, and I hopes Sharon Stone isn’t in it again.

And I’m mostly glad I did. The film was certainly more enjoyable than the evening’s second offering, the French film Martyrs, which felt like a movie based on the opening chapter of a novel. (As for the 20 straight minutes of watching a woman being force-fed and punched in the face... That’s horror these days? By all means try to shock me, but don’t just repel and bore me at the same time.) Anyway, you won’t find anything so gruelling in Sexykiller. It has its nasty scenes (in fact, one involving a hook on a chain was a bit too mean-spirited to sit with the overall comic tone, I thought) but it’s a film that, above all, is trying to please. Scratch that... desperate to please.

Director Miguel Martí and star Macarena Gómez, who both attended the screening, have created a memorable character in the sexy killer herself. Bárbara, as she’s called, basically IS the film – a perkily psychotic college student who isn’t afraid to murder anyone (and almost everyone) who gets in her way. She’s the daughter of Serial Mom, in other words, and if you’re the one who runs over her dog or buys the dress she had her eye on, then... unlucky you.

There’s so much pandering in Sexykiller, however, I could almost taste the bamboo. It opens with locker-room nudity, a Scream parody, and an extended “Barbie Girl” fantasy sequence. Then there’s the autopsy-room grue, frat humour and, eventually, a sharp left turn into Night of the Creeps-style zombie comedy. I won’t say I didn’t laugh a few times, but I couldn’t have felt more like a target audience if there’d been big black circles drawn around me and arrows flying into my face. Which is about how subtle the film is.

Macarena Gómez herself was a big hit with the audience in the subsequent Q&A session, translating her director pal’s answers humorously and alternating between kissing audience members on the cheek and threatening them with a plastic gun. Asked about the film’s comedy element (or “elephant” if you want to describe its subtlety-level more accurately) she revealed that she’d tried to play Bárbara straight, which is probably why the character herself works within the film. It’s a little bit of a shame that the director didn’t show some similar restraint but, with a film so lively, colourful and eager to please, you can’t really criticize him for trying.

Rating: 3/5

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, this sounds quite fun. The actress looks beautiful and the French normally see up to the challenge. I'm not so sure how I feel about horror comedies as a whole, but I do admittedly like a few of them.

That other films sounds atrocious. I agree with that whole repel/bore you thing. I mean, it sounds like an impossible thing to do, but so many films do it! I guess it's an art form!