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Killer Concept (2021) Review

A while back, I reviewed Driven, a horror comedy twist on Collateral. Now that film’s director Glenn Payne and writer/star Casey Dillard are back with another dark comedy, Killer Concept. This time out, their target is low-budget filmmaking. And just to make it interesting, they did it as an ultra-low budget film with a budget of nine hundred dollars and a main cast and crew that consisted of five people. Can they come up with something that doesn’t look like the similarly budgeted Joker Scarecrow?

Seth (Coley Bryant, Slender, The Reaper Man)is planning to make his first movie, and he thinks he’s got a killer concept. The film will be based on an unsolved, and recent, series of murders. He’s got true crime writer Holly (Casey Dillard, Starve, Earthrise) writing it, but she’s not happy with the way he keeps sensationalizing the crimes.

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They’ve gotten Mark (Glenn Payne, OzLand, Stagrassle Paranormal) involved, and he has even more reason than Holly to be concerned. He was the one who committed the murders. That’s not a spoiler BTW, the film gives it away in the first ten minutes. In fact, much of the fun comes from you knowing it while his collaborators don’t.

Killer Concept opens with a nice visualization of a scene from the script before morphing into a production meeting. Holly wants accuracy and questions why one of the murders is taking place in a shower. “Do you want to make a documentary or a good movie?” is Seth’s response. I can imagine this happening in more than one film “based on true events”.

The focus of much of Killer Concept’s humour is, of course, the creative process. And it is amusing to hear them kicking around ideas and giving their own spins on them. Especially some of the more outrageously tasteless ideas Seth has to up the amount of blood and nudity in the film.

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It’s also amusing to watch Holly and Seth discount Mark’s ideas and theories. Especially Holly, who writes true crime books and considers herself an expert on serial killers. This has an effect on Mark. He starts to question his urge to kill, and he starts to develop feelings for Holly.

Despite being billed as a horror comedy, Killer Concept is a fairly straight comedy until the last act. There are moments where Mark’s darker nature starts to show through. But they’re played off with laughs, like when he’s stalking a woman until to be foiled by the cell phone he forgot to put on silent.

Once it does turn serious, it’s actually somewhat anticlimactic. It all plays out a bit too quickly and predictably, especially after such an enjoyably different buildup. There isn’t enough time to fully pull off the change of tones, Payne and Dillard would probably have been better off keeping things on a quirky note right until the end.

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On a technical note, I must say Killer Concept is impressive. It does not look like a nine hundred dollar movie, it looks like something budgeted in the six figure range. Obviously the small cast and lack of effects helped to keep costs down, and I’m sure a few favours were called in. But it’s still impressive what they’ve accomplished here.

Overall, Killer Concept is an enjoyable, darkly humorous look at both making movies and killing people. Don’t expect a lot in the way of actual horror, and enjoy the laughs. It’s just a shame the film stumbles a bit at the end, but it’s still worth seeing.

Killer Concept will be available on Amazon Prime on May 21st. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more details.

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