Following up their “horror in an Uber ” tale Driven, the multi-hyphenate creative team of director-producer Glenn Payne and writer-producer Casey Dillard have delivered another entertaining high-concept, low-budget horror feature.
Payne also joins Dillard (who starred in Driven) in front of the camera, acting opposite her in the role of this film’s main character.
The tale concerns a trio of writers team up to develop a killer concept that they hope will be novel enough to gain some notoriety, basing a horror movie screenplay on a local, still active serial killer that’s been plaguing the area. It’s a true story without an ending, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to come up with a version of the tale that will make for a great movie.
“Killer concept” carries a double meaning, with another wrinkle for the viewing audience: What Holly (Dillard) and Seth (Coley Bryant) don’t know is that their writing partner, soft-spoken Mark (Payne), is actually the killer.
Killer Concept is a dark comedy which mostly follows Mark’s perspective as a confused killer who isn’t sure where to go next, experiencing an existential and moral crisis. He’s awkward with women, generally averse to killing, and feels unheard by his cowriters (despite ironically being the greatest expert on the subject matter: himself). A lot of the film’s humor comes from his “secret identity” and related frustrations, which get more complex as he starts to become infatuated with his writing partner Holly. He’s actually presented as a somewhat sympathetic character, despite being a murderer — thanks to Payne who is kind of oddly charming in the role.
It’s a fairly clever screenplay idea, and lives up to the title. Gorehounds expecting a horror movie may be disappointed; the onscreen carnage is quite tame. It’s more about the idea than the executions. Still, a neat twist in the final act keeps things unpredictable. In a way, the “movie without an ending” that the team is developing becomes the movie — and its elusive ending — that we’re watching.
Made for the most part with a combined cast and crew of about 5 people for only $900, Killer Concept shows that you can make an interesting movie with little more than a fun idea, some friends, and a bit of elbow grease.
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