Color, 2011, 97m.
Directed by Jack Perez
Starring Kevin Corrigan, Barry Bostwick, Karen Black, Lucy Davis, Leo Fitzpatrick, Ariel Gade
Anchor Bay (DVD) (US R1 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9) / DD5.1

Some Guy Who Kills PeopleTormented by memories of being taunted and abused by gasoline-slinging jock bullies who didn't appreciate being turned into comic book characters, artist Kenny Boyd (Corrigan) lives a life of desperate frustration scooping ice cream and living with his oddball mom (Black). Meanwhile the laconic town sheriff (Bostwick) is investigating a string of brutal murders... whose victims happen to the be very guys Ken's been fantasizing about offing. However, Ken has other things to worry about, too -- like a fledgling romance with Stephanie (Davis, star of the UK The Office), whom he meets atSome Guy Who Kills People a backyard ice cream shindig, and the presence of Amy (Gade), the daughter he never knew he had. Will true love win, will justice prevail, or will the town be plagued by a neverending string of gory murders?

While a title this lackluster and a budget this small would be more than enough to torpedo most indie films, Some Guy Who Kills People rises well above its peers thanks to a surprisingly deft and poignant script. You wouldn't normally think a slasher movie could make you smile and feel good about life, but that's exactly what this one aims for (Tucker and Dale vs. Evil kind of plays around in the same sandbox but is ultimately a different beast altogether).

It doesn't exactly hurt having a cast of real pros spouting the witty dialogue, either, with Some Guy Who Kills PeopleCorrigan (a familiar face from films as diverse as Pineapple Express and The Last Winter, as well as a minor arc of TV's Fringe) making a solid leading man in a role that demands far more than your average black comedy. Of course, it's a real pleasure here to see juicy roles for Bostwick and Black, a pair of '70s cinema regulars who get a real chance to shine; Bostwick in particular seems to be having a field day with lines most actors would kill for. So to speak. A sweet little blood-spattered surprise.

In a more theatrical-friendly enivornment this film would've had a shot as a decent midnight title, but as it is most people will have to make its acquaintance with Anchor Bay's DVD release. Shot with RED digital cameras, it doesn't even try for any super-stylish visuals; instead the camera mainly sits back and lets the story unfold while the actors do their thing. Not surprisingly, the transfer looks as impressive as a digital-shot feature can look in SD, while the 5.1 English track has a restrained but effective surround mix including some nice panning effects during the murder scenes.

As for extras, director Jack Perez (who has one of the strangest filmographies you'll ever see) is joined by screenwriter Ryan Levin for a brisk commentary whose topics include stylistic nods to The Pawnbroker, the empowering feeling of standing up to Karen Black, alternate concepts for the film's original opening, and the physical consequences of shooting with a RED camera. Perhaps the most interesting extra is "The Fifth," a 12-minute short from 2007 that marked the first Perez/Levin collaboration. The packaging touts this as the short "the inspired the feature," which seems a bit of a stretch as all they really have in common in a comedic approach to gore and the presence of a serial killer. It's a pretty amusing "Funny or Die"-style extended sketch about four poker buddies who bring in a fifth player horrified by the fact that one of them brutally murders people as his day job. Oh, and he's brought a dead body to the game and left a severed head in the freezer. Character actor Sam Lloyd (Galaxy Quest) gets most of the great moments here, and apart from some truly awful ADR work in a few spots, it's a great little supplement. Finally the disc wraps up with some raw behind-the-scenes footage (with lots and lots of fake body parts, plus enthusiastic comments from executive producer John Landis) and the spoiler-ish trailer.

Reviewed on June 26, 2012.