Killer Kites (2023) Review
Initially scheduled for release on May 26th, the reaction to the trailer for Killer Kites was so positive that the release was pushed up to May 2nd. That’s pretty impressive for a microbudget film most people didn’t even know existed until the trailer was released. It also creates the kind of expectations that can be hard to live up to, especially for a microbudget film.
The film opens in 1956 somewhere in Berlin with an unnamed German man meeting his fate in an homage to The Evil Dead’s “shaky cam” shot before moving to present-day America. Abby (Manon Pages, Demigod, The Demonologist) receives an inheritance from her recently deceased grandmother. It turns out to be a kite which she promptly gives to her brother Brian (Charlie Early) who recognizes it as having connections to the Nazi’s occult experiments. Unsurprisingly he promptly ends up dead.
Shortly after that, a strange figure appears to her in the night claiming to be the Oracle (Zach Lee). He warns her not to investigate her brother’s death and complains about the lack of decent breakfast food in her kitchen before vanishing after a trip to McDonald’s. But, as more people turn up dead, Abby, along with her co-worker Daniel (Carter Simoneaux, Sewer Gators, Silent But Deadly) ignores that advice. It’s a decision she, as well as the audience, will regret.
Co-directed by Paul Dale (Sewer Gators, Silent But Deadly) and Austin Frosch (Warren) who also wrote it, Killer Kites is the kind of comedy that revels in its own stupidity. While going through Brian’s stuff Daniel tells Abby her brother will miss an appointment and she has to remind him that Brian is dead. Chyrons during the news broadcasts inform us that reporter Brock Peterson (Paul Dale) caught herpes in a Waffle House bathroom.
By the time the kite and some local kites it recruited to its cause attacked the Kuntz Yeast Bread Festival, everybody knows kites love bread, I could feel my brain cells dying. I should have expected this once I saw the connection to Sewer Gators but I was hoping the filmmakers had improved since then. Unfortunately, I found Killer Kites to be even less amusing than that film.
And maybe, if you find people hitting themselves with kites while pretending to be attacked by them funny then they have improved. But watching an attack by a flock of kites rendered with Birdemic style CGI didn’t make me laugh, it just made me glad Killer Kites is only slightly over an hour long. And even at that length, the film’s aggressive stupidity made it hard to sit through.
At some point, filmmakers will hopefully realize that trying to make an intentionally bad cult film just about always ends with a film that is indeed bad, just not in an entertaining way. That’s why the first Birdemic film caught on with viewers while its sequels were deservedly ignored. And apart from a mildly amusing bit with a “Pro Kite” conspiracy theorist, this is about as far from entertaining as it gets.
Granted enough people liked Sewer Gators that Dale and company made Killer Kites so there is an audience for films like this. Considering how low the budget had to have been, IMDB’s estimate of $500,000 is funnier than anything in the actual movie, it’s probably not a big audience. Not that a bigger budget would have helped unless they used it to commission a script that was actually funny.
Killer Kites is available on multiple Digital Platforms, it’s also available on Blu-ray and VHS from the production company’s website. Just remember, buying a copy may encourage them to make a sequel. If you’re looking for something similar, but hopefully better, FilmTagger can offer some suggestions.