Kill Her Goats (2023) Review
On paper Kill Her Goats, the new film from writer/director Steve Wolsh (Muck) certainly sounds like it has a lot of potential. An 80s-style slasher featuring Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, Tow) as a power tool wielding killer named Goatface, a cast that contains multiple Playboy Playmates, and 100% practical effects. It sounds like the perfect material to craft an old-school slasher out of, doesn’t it?
That potential certainly holds up through the opening scene, the murder of a pair of campers by Goatface and his dual, giant hedge trimmers, which provides plenty of gore and bare skin. It certainly feels like we’re back in the 80s watching the unrated cut of the latest DTV horror.
Unfortunately, after that things slow way down. “Earlier that Day” pops on the screen and we go to the beach where we meet Reese (Monica Sims, Sandy Wexler) and Missy (Ellie Gonsalvever, Fighting With My Family, Zebra) who talk about their friend Audra (Arielle Raycene, Ulterior Motives: Reality TV Massacre, About Pie) who has just come back to town.
They also take off their tops because “Every time we come here, someone has to get topless.” and start shit with Audra’s ex, Devon (Skyler Seymour, Steam Room Stories, My Daughter’s Psycho Friend) who is busy taking topless pictures of his current girlfriend Autumn (Amberleigh West, The Last Movie Star). Then, after “Earlier that Day (Again)” flashes on the screen we meet Audra and see the allegedly cursed Tupp House that her father bought her.
After the opening murders Kill Her Goats turns into something that looks more like an 80s T&A film than a horror film with loads of shots of women jumping on beds, bouncing down stairs, whipping off bikini tops and taking showers. Which wouldn’t be bad except that this is supposed to be a horror movie and those scenes are shot in such a bland, by-the-numbers fashion that they can’t overcome the truly awful dialogue and acting.
Finally, somewhere around the fifty-minute mark, we get a nightmare scene and a riff on the urban legend about something under the bed licking a sleeping woman’s feet. I thought it might be Quentin Tarantino but Goatface shows up with what looks like sparklers on his hedge trimmers to chase two of the girls before popping into the third one’s nightmare as if he’s the bastard son of Freddy and Jason. This ability appearing out of nowhere is just one of the problems with Kill Her Goats’ storyline.
But even after that Wolsh still seems more interested in boobs than blood, Goatface rips one victim’s shirt off and the camera focuses on her breasts during most of the attack. He should have just skipped the horror and made a skin flick because as a horror film Kill Her Goats fails on multiple levels.
First and foremost it’s not scary, there are a couple of mild jump scares and that’s it. There’s never any suspense or feeling of dread mostly because we’re dealing with terrible acting and unlikable characters that we don’t care about. As for the plot, it’s almost impossible to figure out what is actually going on. There’s something about Devon still holding a grudge against Audra for dumping him as well as being related to the Tupp family. Then there’s some drama with her sister (Danielle Mathers, The Bold and the Beautiful, Thrilling Contradictions) who turns up at the last moment.
This may be, as some writers have speculated because Kill Her Goats started out as a sequel to Muck. They both take place in the fictional Cape Cod town of West Craven and it might explain where Goatface got the ability to show up in someone’s dreams. But no matter what the reason, the script needed several rewrites before it was ready for shooting. On the bright side, while there aren’t actually all that many effects in the film, what we do get are well done and CGI-free. Unfortunately, that’s about all the good I can say about the technical side of the film. Several scenes were obviously shot day for night and you can see the shadows of the camera crew in at least one scene.
The potential was there for Kill Her Goats to be a wicked throwback to the golden age of slashers. Unfortunately, the filmmakers consistently made bad decisions and squandered that potential along with an hour and a half of the viewer’s life.
Kill Her Goats is available in a limited edition Blu-ray from the film’s website. A mass-market release is scheduled for April 28th. Honestly, though, you’re probably better off just perusing the actresses’ Playboy layouts and skipping this mess. If you’re looking for a slasher that’s a cut above this one, FilmTagger can suggest a few titles.