Hey gang, Valkor here. Have you ever had one of those days when you just wanna punch a muthafudger in the face? Like, you find a certain type of person so annoying that you simply wanna gouge their eyes out? For instance, have you ever stood behind someone at a Starbucks and they're spewing out this chemistry formula of an order when all you want is a simple latte? Why don’t they make separate lines for these guys? Anyway, this relates to the next film up on the MediaView chopping block – Stressed to Kill. And the main character… he is the hero we need right now.
“Stressed to Kill” puts the focus on a fire safety worker named Bill (Bill Oberst Jr.), who is having the shittiest of days, where people annoy him to the point of literally having a heart attack. With his blood pressure on the rise, his doctor suggests that he take “creative” measures so that he'll be put on the right path to a healthier heart. But the only thing that truly annoys Bill is people; and not just every day people, but loud talkers, theater disturbances, and reckless drivers. So guess what has to go? With the help of his best buddy Stan (Marshall Hilton), who also has his own personal issues to deal with, he gets a hold of some very potent poison; plus he already owns a blow dart gun, so anyone who annoys him is gonna get one right in the neck. Initially, the killings show some promise as his BP levels start to stave off, but something even more annoying is bringing those levels back up again; first there's his friend Stan's ex-wife, who is bleeding him of money. And then it’s his own wife who not only nags him constantly, but he catches her having an affair with the sleaziest of sleazy dudes. And to make matters even worse, there’s a detective by the name of Paul Jordan (Armand Assante – The Bleeding) who’s on the case, in search of a man killing random folks with a dart gun, which puts Bill in his sights. How will Bill get himself out of this predicament? You’re going to have to watch this one to find out.
“Stressed to Kill” had me hooked just by the name alone; and while I don’t normally read the plot summary, this was one of those rare instances that I did, which made me want to check out this film even more. So how does it ultimately fare? Let’s find out in the TOV Breakdown.
“Stressed to Kill” is very reminiscent of the classic Michael Douglas film “Falling Down”, only it takes things to an extreme, where the annoyances face death rather than getting a stern talking to (though Douglas’s character did some damage as well). The film is easily relatable because the people that Bill has to contend with is something many of us deal with almost on the daily. And yet the film is rather a tongue in cheek thriller since in real life no one ever really gets killed… have they? I’m too afraid to look it up to find out. Regardless, you’ll get a kick out of following Bill’s journey through ridding his life of things that might make his heart go pop! It’s a mesmerizing experience and a very well paced thriller that’s easy to follow and quick to entertain. Bill Oberst gets mad props for his stellar performance of our main character; he’s easily someone you can cheer for given the circumstances that his character must face. I’ve seen a couple of films that deal with such stresses, but Bill’s take is the most refreshing. I've also enjoyed Marshall Hilton’s “Stan”, who is the sort of best friend you want in your corner in the most extreme cases. Plus, he isn’t the super nervous, give you up/letdown type of friend you see in such films; and I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but Marshall and Bill have something of a “Strangers on a Train” moment where they take out each other’s wives; making that connection brought a smile to my face. And I can’t forget Armand Assante, who gets my vote as having one of the most deliciously evil scenes I’ve witnessed in a long time. It happens when his detective character takes Bill out on a midnight ride in an ice cream truck. And things escalate rather quickly once they arrive at their destination in ways I would have never expected! “Stressed to Kill” in an unpredictable yet highly entertaining thriller that is a must watch – but try not to get too annoyed by some of Bill’s stresses… believe me, they get what they deserve in the end.
Some of the film's acting isn’t always on point and my biggest gripe is that Assante needed a better mic, because much of the time he’s mumbling, which makes it hard to understand exactly what he’s saying at times; a few times I had to rewind just because I thought I might have missed something important.
“Stressed to Kill” is available now on digital platforms such as Amazon Instant and Google Play; the film will get a physical release on July 16th, and if you’re looking for a tongue in cheek thriller that’s also fun to watch then this would be the one. I highly recommend it. And out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving “Stressed to Kill” a 4.