Richard Bates Jr (director)
18 May 2020 (released)
17 May 2020
Killer instinct (or Tone Deaf) has a fair-few things to say about the perceptions of the generation gap, family, friends while juggling comedy and horror and playing with the technicalities of the fourth wall.
Olive (Amanda Crew) is not having the best of times; her personal life has fallen to bits and at work she has just been fired. To get away from it all she hires a huge cabin for the weekend from Harvey (Robert Patrick).
Harvey is a curmudgeon who is prone to breaking the fourth wall with his comments on the youth of today somewhat fuelled by his son David (Ronnie Gene Blevins).
Olive meanwhile is adjusting to the area and meets a pleasant enough man in James (Tate Ellington) at a local bar, though he does drop a mickey finn into her drink. She doesn’t drink it but Harvey who has followed Olive then follows James and kills him plus the woman that James was holding.
You see Harvey (who is prone to visions and could possibly have dementia) has done everything there is to do in life, he tells long term friend Agnes (Nancy Linehan Charles) whom he has tied to a bed, apart from kill and he’s looking at Olive. Though he does kill Agnes so he’s up to three before he’s even got to Olive, and he’s enjoying the experience.
Having dodged the dodgy drink Olive obtains some LSD from the local garage and takes it, on her own which leads to a frightening trip which heavily features her late father (Ray Wise) who committed suicide and whose ashes she has in her flat. And on the subject of tripping Olive’s mother Crystal (Kim Delaney) leads a commune taking advantage of young idiots to please her. A text from Olive and she drops everything apart from Uriah (Johnny Pemberton) to get to her.
The horror and violence in Killer Instinct is gruesome and nasty especially when Harvey gets a taste for it with one sequence being particularly unpleasant and I would suggest gratuitous. However as a black comedy horror that wallows in bad taste it doesn’t quite work, even with a decent running gag that explains the films original title. Which is a disappointment as the script is snappy and satirical, letting the players run with it snaring the tribulations of modern life as they are perceived by the generations with a sprightly direction from writer and director Richard Bates Jr.
Killer Instinct will be released on digital on 18 May 2020.