Hello all, Simon here. This week I’m going to be talking about Archstone Pictures and Burning Sky Film’s "Don’t Kill It", directed by Mike Mendez. The film stars 80’s action star Dolph Lundgren (Battle of the Damned) in the lead role as Jebediah Woodley a demon hunter, opposite Kristina Klebe (Zone of the Dead) as Evelyn Pierce an F.B.I agent with a peculiar past.
The films start off pretty strong and right away you know what you’re getting into. This is a 2017 film with an 80’s grindhouse aesthetic. A hunter is in the woods. His dog finds something that shouldn’t be there. Suddenly the dog attacks viciously and the hunter has to put him down. He then proceeds to go to his home and, eyes completely ink black and yelling an incredibly high pitched noise, he murders his family. With that done, he proceeds directly to his neighbor’s house and starts murdering that family starting with a daughter. The father guns him down before he can kill the mother and another daughter. However, a second later, the father in turns develops the black inky eyes and shrill yell and finishes the job. The rash of killings in a small town is too big to ignore and the FBI sends down a former resident of said small sleepy town Special Agent Evelyn Pierce to put a stop to it. And there is the meat of the movie; a demon is on the loose who possesses the body of whoever kills its host. Being scary as hell, usually armed with weapons, and killing his way through a bunch of people, everyone’s natural reaction to the demon possessed host is, “HOLY FUCK!!! KILL IT!!! KILL IT!!! KILL IT!!!!!” Which naturally poses a big problem as that only keeps the cycle going. Fortunately, there is a man who knows of demons and how to stop them - Jebediah Woodley. He heard about the killings and is in town to help. Together Jebediah and Evelyn have to find a way to take down the demon.
The premise of “Don’t Kill It” is actually really strong and I love the idea. When you see the demon running around slaughtering everyone in sight, it’s hard to imagine the restraint it would take to NOT kill it. It makes for a very interesting problem to combat, and it can be used over and over again because it works so well. In fact, I think the premise would work very well in a longer format, like a TV series. I mean a season long hunt of a demon on the loose jumping from killer to killer sound like a homerun. Dolph Lundgren's "Jebediah Woodley" is an awesome character with a pretty interesting past, a good look, and a nice assortment of equipment. Again, there’s strong material here for multiple showings. You could easily give us a multitude of stories regarding his past and further adventures.
I appreciate the aesthetic it was going for; it certainly had that 80’s B-movie/Grindhouse feel to it. However, I think the movie would have been a little better with a bit more of a budget going towards special effects. They weren’t completely terrible, or even that bad for the most part, but there were a few moments that were really, really weak visually or just didn’t play well. The inclusion of the blood line subplot felt very tacked on and McGuffin-y. It just seems unnecessary and in the end, it didn’t even have a payoff. They could’ve and should’ve just dropped that.
The acting. I really hate to come down on a person’s livelihood, but I can’t help it here. It totally pulls you out of the movie. The worst offender is Kristina Klebe. I mean I was really astonished at times that those performances even made it in the film. And I couldn’t believe how groan-inducing bad it was at times. I wish I could say that Dolph was the exception here, but I’d be lying. For the most part, he was just Dolph, which is to say an 80’s action star whose acting is neither here nor there, but just the right level of acceptability, bravado, and bullshit. However, he had a cringe-worthy moment or two himself. To be fair to both actors (and all the others who equally had some terrible stuff) I think a lot of the blame has to do with the writing. Their job to deliver on the lines that someone else wrote, and if you don’t have much to work with, you’re stuck. So I’m going to give a fair portion of blame to the writers, Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, for some very bad dialogue which may or may not have been a product of trying to go for that grindhouse feel.
All in all, "Don’t Kill It" was honestly better than expected. I had very little expectation going into this movie. I expected it to be a B horror movie, which I’m not overly fond of, to begin with. And while it was B horror, it was actually pretty enjoyable despite its flaws. A lot of that boils down to the premise of the movie, Dolph Lundgren, and the Jebediah Woodley character. As I previously stated, I honestly think the premise has legs, and that it would work really well as a series. Unfortunately, the movie did have acting, writing, and even some visual issues. So overall I’m going to give the movie a TOV 3 stars out of 5. It’s entertaining. If you like 80’s movies, horror, gore, or grindhouse movies you may like it even more. Simon says - give it a chance it’s worth a shot.