Knifecorp asks a question that’s very important in today’s society. Who do you hate more, psychotic killers, or door-to-door salesmen? Because the men and women of Knifecorp, based on Cutco and its Vector Marketing division, are hitting the pavement to make some sales no matter what it takes. When they knock on the wrong door will you hope they escape, or want to see them filleted with their own blades?
Wally (Austin Kulman, Get Bossy) is desperate, his father has recently died and his mother (Felissa Rose, Camp Twilight, A Nun’s Curse) can’t pay the bills on her own. So, along with Buddy (Hymnson Chan, Sound of Violence, Killing Joan), Jed (Peter Gilroy, Rock Steady Row) and Tanya (Lola Sandra) he’s out hustling knives.
When he turns up at the door of Angus Finn (Kane Hodder, Shed of the Dead, Victor Crowley) he’s determined not to leave without making a sale. But Wally’s persistence and his daughter Belle (Alexandra Stamler, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp) are a bit more than Angus is in the mood for. And he’s not a man you want to see pushed too far. But when Wally realizes he left his knives behind when he left, that’s exactly what he’s going to do.
Knifecorp gets off on the wrong foot with some bad attempts at comedy as we see the leads trying to make a sale. These range from dull to cringingly awful, like the whiter than Casper Jed telling a potential customer “I’m one 18th black on my mother’s side”. Even a cameo from Tiffany Shepis (Tar, Killer Kate) can’t save the film’s first half hour.
It’s not until around the half-hour mark when he sneaks into Angus’s house to retrieve the knives that Knifecorp goes into horror mode. Almost immediately it caught me off guard with a couple of unexpected twists. Unfortunately, it just as quickly undercut them with some ridiculous plotting. Jed and Tanya go to their boss (Boone Platt), instead of calling the police after seeing a body fall out a window. To compound it, and add to the potential body count, he goes back with them rather than call the police. That’s after squabbling with his boyfriend over the appropriate shoes to wear of course.
I get that Knifecorp is meant to be a horror comedy, but having everyone act like an idiot is annoying, not funny. Especially when we’re supposed to be impressed with Hodder’s “career-changing performance”, as the film’s publicity describes it, as a man driven over the edge by grief.
Director Zach Zorba Grashin and co-writer L.E. Staiman do manage to come up with a couple of creepy moments and surprises, but they’re lost in a script that veers between serious dramatics, slasher horror, and intelligence-insulting attempts at humour. It keeps changing tone and direction and never accomplishes anything.
As for Hodder’s “career-changing performance”, Finn is no different from hundreds of other characters who have been driven to murder due to loss. Yes, he has a couple of sorrowful moments, but then minutes later he’s setting someone on fire and roasting marshmallows on their off-screen corpse. Granted that does have the film’s funniest line “You haven’t lived until you’ve been burned. I should know.”, and even that will be lost on those who don’t know the actor’s life story. Actually, watching To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story would be a better way to use your time.
And, just to add insult to injury, Knifecorp doesn’t even have much in the way of effects. Some simple stab wounds and a bruised-up corpse are about it.
Knifecorp is available on Digital to stream or download via Cinedigm. The film does have a Facebook page, but it hasn’t been updated since 2019. Apparently even it’s makers didn’t think it was worth the effort to promote.