Notice: DELIVERY and KILL HOUSE

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Editor’s note: This was originally published for FANGORIA on June 12, 2007 and we are proud to share it as part of The Gingold files.


The DVD landscape has become so saturated with teen-in-a-cab slasher flicks and true serial killer chillers that any movie promising to pull a few twists on the stalker formula can only be approached with some optimism. This hope is somehow fulfilled by Delivery (Polychrome; photo above) and squarely dotted with kill the house (Trinity); while neither film brings back the full potential of its premise, the first, at least, can be enjoyed for its good intentions. The latter, on the other hand, is an example of genre cinema at its deepest and most insulting cynicism.

Florida lentil Delivery, written and directed by Jose Zambrano Cassella, is perhaps the first film ever made about a murderous pizza maker, specifically Montgomery Goth (Matt Nelson), a bear of a man who nevertheless allows himself to be the doormat of his world. . He suffers abuse from his boss, his clients, and especially the grotesque woman in the lot where his car is towed after running out of gas late at night. The only respite from his life of misery is Bibi (Tara Cardinal), a charming young artist whom he meets on his way and with whom he begins a love affair. But – oops – turns out his brother is not only a big jerk, but also Monty’s pie-delivery contest at his job, and he sabotages the budding relationship. Top that off with a healthy dose of nightmares about his traumatic past, and it’s clear Monty is destined to crack, and in the most violent way possible.

It’s so clear, in fact, that after a while you’ll wish the movie would go on. Nelson, who had never acted before this project, invests Monty with some sympathy, but the characterization and the film itself continue to strike the same note for almost an hour before he is finally allowed to go. detach and take revenge. Once that happens, Nelson doesn’t gratifyingly exaggerate Monty’s psychosis, and there’s a macabre spirit to some of the death settings (especially his Rube Goldberg solution to the problem of how to eliminate a house full of arrogant sorority sisters) which adds a necessary modicum of surprise, given that her rampage is such a predictable conclusion. Still, Cassella has scraped together his budget of just $5,000 in a film that doesn’t feel like a cheap knockoff, as he’s clearly committed to the material and resists the urge to camp it all out for cheap laughs. Delivery only delivers sporadically, but it should be interesting to see where Cassella goes from here.

Upon proof of kill the house, however, writer/director Beth Dewey might be advised to seek another line of work, pronto. This budding horror/satire is as shrill and obnoxious as the movies get, and for quite a while it seems to forget it’s meant to be a slasher picture. The gimmick here is that chaos unfolds in the real estate world, opening with the gory murders of a real estate agent and a woman squatting (and bathing) in an apartment she’s showing off. The story centers on a particular San Francisco home where teenagers (read: played by actors in their twenties) are left behind while their parents are on vacation, even as the place is shown to potential buyers. One or two more murders occur, and the film plays with a few potential red herrings: her daughter Lucy (Toni Breen) won’t budge because she’d have to part with her beloved horse Anthrax (?!), and The Warden (E. Shepherd Stevenson, resembling Greg Nicotero gone to seed) is an ex-con.

About half an hour later, however, the culprit is revealed to be… Dewey herself, playing the conniving middle-aged real estate agent Sunny. She and her Conner Realty colleagues would kill to make a sale, and too much of the subsequent running time is taken up with their devious shenanigans until Dewey finally remembers she’s making a scary movie, after which Sunny begins to kill at random. anyone within striking distance. Most of it isn’t funny at all and bit scary, and part of it is worse, reaching its nadir in a sticky, pointless scene in which Sunny kidnaps three young girls off the street and forces them to pose as her daughters. The actors all seem to have been directed to be as hateful as possible, the tone is all over the place and, despite the assorted splashes of gore and the nudity of women of all shapes, sizes and ages (including Dewey herself), even the chills good. market are few. and very far between.

Both films were shot on consumer video equipment (although kill the house seems to have had a slightly higher budget than Delivery) and as such look quite polished in widescreen transfers to their respective DVDs, with decent 2.0 sound on each. Delivery includes a commentary from Cassella and Nelson, which reveals that the film has its origins when the couple were both working behind the scenes of Andrew the Butcher, and the former realized how perfect the latter would be as an on-screen villain. Denying the stern demeanor he wears throughout his performance, Nelson proves he has a sense of humor at the ready as he and Cassella recount the cash-strapped production, praise their collaborators and salute other Florida filmmakers and their productions. At one point, Nelson admits he only read the script once before he started filming, and he recalls a squib-gag-gone-wrong that almost set him on fire, a moment captured among a collection of modestly amusing bloopers. There is also a “behind the scenes” supplement consisting entirely of still photographs.

kill the house (Trinity) has rather less to offer – just a collection of 10 deleted scenes of very little consequence, and a rote behind-the-scenes featurette. Here we find out that, instead of having to shoot all the real places like Cassella and co. did, Dewey and his team had the relative luxury of working on sets, albeit quite inexpensively. And the fact that these low-cost constructions pass convincingly for real home and office interiors is probably kill the housethe most important achievement of.

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