68 Kill – Film Review

It begins with a close-up of a fly stuck in a drop of honey. The insect willingly steps in, then struggles, then can’t get out. And that pretty much sums up Chip’s relationship with Liza. The septic tank cleaner (Mathew Gay Gubler) is so smitten with the sweetness of his girlfriend (AnnaLynne McCord, who could not be more perfect), that he’ll willingly step into her honey trap no matter how outrageous the request. Like the fly, he just can’t help himself.

In the jet black, midnight comedy thrill ride from writer/director Trent Haaga, 68 Kill, Liza is Chip’s wish-fulfillment fantasy made reality; attractive trailer-park trash in the tightest of daisy dukes with the morals of a deranged alley cat. Once Liza discovers that a certain sugar-daddy has $68,000 tucked away in his safe at home, she plans a robbery. “I don’t wanna live like this,” Liza complains, and does what any hellcat would do; she borrows a couple of guns from her serial killer brother, Dwayne (Sam Edison), promises Chip that nothing bad is going to happen – it’ll be simple; a break in, a cash-grab, then out of there – and then they can live happily ever after in a cheap motel room of their dreams… until the money runs out.

What makes things initially funny are Chip’s reactions. He’s a likable enough guy, and even though he may not care for pumping sewage all day, at least he’s having great sex with a girl he can’t believe would ever be interested in him. That’s why he goes along with her plan, as long as no one gets hurt. “I guarantee,” Liza assures him.

Then they rob the house, and suddenly Chip sees a different side to Liza he never thought was even possible. Within seconds of overpowering her victim, Liza casually takes out a knife and slits the man’s throat as though it was no big deal. And she can’t understand Chip’s dismayed reaction. “You’ll get used to it, trust me,” she says, then proceeds to kill a second person in the house before kidnapping a third, Violet (Alisha Boe) and stuffing her in the trunk.

Normally, Liza would have killed Violet, too. After all, she’s a witness. But there’s opportunity to make some extra money, and Liza was never one for letting a financial deal slip her by. She’s going to sell the girl in the trunk to her brother in order to support his in-house surgery habit. “Dwayne’s really into his new hobby,” Liza explains, adding that she made three thousand on the previous girl she sold to her brother. Violet may even bring her a couple of thousand more. That’s when Chip, who can take it no longer, puts his foot down on the accelerator. With the money still in the envelope and Violet still in the trunk, he speeds away from Liza. And that’s only the beginning.

Chip is one of those guileless guys that sixties and seventies king of the skinflicks director, Russ Meyer, would have put at the center of one of his campy sexploitation films. In fact, the short-cut to explaining 68 Kill is to call it Russ Meyer meets something Tarantino might have found inspiring; every woman Chip encounters along this nightmare, backwoods journey may not possess the enhanced breasts of a Meyer heroine, but they’re all vixens, and with Liza in hot pursuit, Chip doesn’t stand a chance. “Your girlfriend sounds like a real piece of work,” states Violet once Chip frees her from the truck.

For the first two thirds of the film, there’s a genuine sense of fun; albeit a demented, depraved one. Chip and Violet singing to M’s Pop Musik on the AM radio has unexpected appeal. But by the time Chip is taken hostage by a group of rednecks partying in a trailer, the film is already spinning out of control. Their taunting of the hapless Chip loses the fast-paced rhythm of the film’s beginning and middle, and diminishes into something horrifyingly ugly. The trashy outrageousness of glorious midnight movie sleaze ends as simply bad taste. In other words, by the final third, that funny, black comic tone that started off so well changes to something unexpectedly cruel and mean-spirited; ultimately it takes the film into a disappointing nose dive.

MPAA Rating:   NR    Length:  93 Minutes    Overall rating: 4 (out of 10)

Please note: 68 Kill will open August 11 exclusively at FilmBar, 815 N. 2nd Street, Phoenix AZ, 85004

 

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