DECEMBER 23, 2007
I heard conflicting reports about Murder Party. One friend said I would love it, another declared it one of the worst films he had ever seen. Well, now that I’ve seen it, thanks to Zach's recommendation, I must admit that they are both right. At times the movie is great, and then other times, it is insufferably bad. Overall I’d say I enjoyed it but would never want to watch it again.
I think part of the problem is that we have almost an hour of nothing really happening, just a bunch of pretentious art scenesters mostly yelling at each other as some poor sod who stumbled into their ‘party’ gets chained to a chair and makes big eyes at everything. It gets boring, quick. Then, the main art hipster guy is revealed to be a phony, at which point they all start killing each other. The final 20 minutes is a blood bath, while retaining the humor. Certainly, the idea of seeing a bunch of pretentious artsy fartsy types get chainsawed to death is appealing, but it should have comprised more of the film. Like... all of it. In fact, 80 nonstop minutes of “artists” getting graphically killed could very well be the finest film ever made.
On more than a couple occasions, the humor doesn’t work quite as well as it’s supposed to. For example, at one point a photographer gets shot in the head, and as he’s bleeding everywhere, he moans that he just wants to take a photo before he dies. This is fucking stupid, not funny. He would be instantly dead from his wound (a bullet goes into the back of his head and comes out of his forehead). If you break realism, the humor is immediately gone. There’s also a scene where one of the guys forces another to remove his vampire costume. It goes on for like 3 minutes, and it’s not only pointless, but the possible amusement it provides runs out long before the scene itself does (plus it’s merely setting something up that would be much funnier, or at least interesting, if it came completely out of nowhere). But there are still quite a few laughs. My favorite is when the poor non-artist sod is running around trying to get help from a bunch of art snobs, and he’s yelling “He’s trying to kill me”, to which one guy responds “Good, asshole!” Hahahahah, awesome.
The music at the beginning of the film sounds like Halloween III and Prince of Darkness, so that’s good. In fact, while I usually dislike such things, the tone of the first 15 minutes is completely different from the rest, and I think it works. The absurdity of the situation he finds himself in wouldn’t be as surprising if the film began on a silly note. So, nice work.
As this is an independent film, several of the actors are also listed as producers and other crew members (and what has to be the first instance of an executive producer also being listed as a regular producer), and they all play characters that have the same name as their real life names. None of them are truly bad, but I think the film would work a bit better with names. It would have been a lot more exciting if Lukas Haas suddenly went apeshit and began beating everyone to death than it was when some no-name who just kind of looks like him did it. As I learned on the commentary and making-of (which is pretty amusing in its own right), these guys grew up together making films that, from the clips they show, aren’t that dissimilar from the ‘films’ my friends and I made for various school projects (or for the hell of it), which warmed me to the film a bit. Still, the unevenness of it hurts what could have been a classic.
What say you?