| April 21, 2012

Troma has made a name for itself over the last three decades (and change!) by releasing their own low-budget, lowbrow films as well as giving up-and-coming filmmakers a shot at working for no money. However, they also regularly license outside productions for release, and lately Troma has been having something of a renaissance, releasing Astron-6’s brilliant grindhouse satire Father’s Day and picking up great independent productions like the 80s-obsessed slasher comedy Blood Junkie and the outrageously bizarre and offensive filmĀ The Taint. Despite a few new hits, though, it seemed inevitable that Troma would still be releasing more than its share of misses. Kill lands firmly in the latter category.

Six people wake up in different rooms of a large house, each one in identical white outfits and with no idea how they arrived at the house. They quickly meet each other and a voice announces over a public address system rigged throughout the house that “Round 2” is about to begin. Another man, bloodied and beaten and wearing the same outfit as the others, staggers up the stairs and into the middle of the group. He passes out and they put him in a bed, but no one knows each other and no one knows what “Round 2” is supposed to mean. They begin to explore the house and soon discover they have been entered into a deadly competition with each other. The winner lives. As if this wasn’t unpleasant enough, complicating matters are the screaming “game show host” who periodically yells over the blaring PA system and a group of masked men who seem hell-bent on killing the contestants.

Kill takes a fairly worn-out setup and doesn’t really do much with it. The acting is almost universally terrible, and the dialogue often borders on complete nonsense. None of the characters act like anything but what they are– characters in a movie who need to act and speak on cue to keep the story moving forward. This mostly consists of the characters yelling at each other in an endless series of pointless arguments, at least until people finally start killing each other off. However, by that time the action is far too little way too late, and despite some really weird “game show” moments, the film never gets quite weird enough to be really interesting. Even the ending twist is painfully obvious to anyone paying any shred of attention to what’s going on.

It seems fairly obvious that Kill was made with very little money, and in that at least there is something to be said for the ingenuity of the filmmakers. They manage to use cheap decorations for funny and creepy set designs, and the practical blood effects are decent if not particularly noteworthy. The film is almost completely free of the usual gross-out humor associated with Troma, too, so for a certain audience this might make a good introduction to the low-low-low budget world of Troma Entertainment. Unfortunately it may also be the only Troma film those audiences ever see, because it’s not all that great. That said, Kill goes to show that with no money, a bunch of willing pals, and a bunch of weird stuff sitting around your house, you can crank out a feature-length film. It might not be a good feature-length film, but still!

Troma released Kill on DVD on 10 April 2012. Special features include a full-length commentary track, trailer, and the usual host of Troma promotional features found on all Troma discs.

About the Author:

Jason Coffman is a film writer living in Chicago. He is author of "The Unrepentant Cinephile," and a regular contributor to Daily Grindhouse and Film Monthly as well as a member of the Chicago Independent Film Critics Circle. He is co-director of the Chicago Cinema Society and proud owner of 35mm prints of Andy Milligan's "Guru, the Mad Monk." Follow his long-form film writing on Medium:

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