Review: KILLING JOAN (2017)
A murder victim coming back from the grave for vengeance is a theme that’s been around as long as people have told stories. THE CROW is the most famous film to tackle that topic, and twenty-three years after its release, films like KILLING JOAN are comparing themselves to it. That’s usually not a good idea, even less so than usual in this case.
Joan (Jamie Bernadette ALL GIRLS WEEKEND, DEAD BY DAWN) is a mob enforcer with a bad attitude and worse temper. Within the film’s first few minutes, she’s killed a delinquent borrower who turns violent and one of her own crew for dropping the C word on her. However, when a crusading youth counsellor she’s sent to rough up turns out to a former boyfriend Anthony (Teo Celigo DRACULA THE IMPALER) things get complicated, and she ends up killed by her own crew. But supernatural forces bring her back and set her on a path of vengeance. But mob boss Frank (David Carey Foster) has some paranormal powers of his own.
Jamie Bernadette is a great actress, and the idea of her in a female take on THE CROW had my interest right away. Sadly, writer/director Todd Bartoo undercuts his film’s potential constantly. In THE CROW, Eric is an innocent victim who has the audience’s support from the start. In KILLING JOAN, Joan is a cold-blooded killer who would the villain in any other film.
Her sudden turn to the side of the angels is very unconvincing and hamstrings the film from the start. Laughably bad “tough guy” dialogue and worse fight choreography don’t help either. The botched fights are really puzzling given the casting of Katarina Leigh Waters (REDCON-1). She’s wrestled in both WWE and Impact Wrestling and could have shown them how to do it better.
On the technical side, KILLING JOAN suffers from the all too common curse of crappy CGI, especially during an already cringe-worthy final confrontation. There’s also a persistent dose of shaky camera. Not found footage style shaky, but as though the camera person was going handheld but couldn’t keep it steady. It’s there throughout the film and very annoying.
Killing Joan arrives on Digital on April 4, 2018, followed by its DVD release on July 7th, from Uncork’d Entertainment.