JANUARY 19, 2008
I'm not sure what the point is of hiring a fairly well-known actor or actress and giving them nothing to do for the majority of a film, but it makes even LESS sense when you are trying to give your film a twist ending. Such is the case with The Killing Floor, a film which I will have to spoil in the rest of the review. So if you haven't seen it yet, be warned: I am giving away a twist that isn't really all that surprising to anyone who recognizes the cast.
The actress in question here is Shiri Appleby. Maybe not a household name, but certainly recognizable from a variety of roles on both TV and film. She plays Marc Blucas' assistant, and has literally nothing to do in the film's first hour or so except say things like "There's a call for you" and bringing Blucas his mail. So anyone with a rudimentary understanding of movies, casting, etc. will immediately suspect that she is somehow more important than she seems, if not the MOST important figure in the plot against Blucas (which involves old murders, a betrayed friend, and, sigh, real estate shenanigans). And guess what? She is! The whole movie is a setup she (over)planned to get back at Blucas for not reading her short story. The fact that if he DID read the fucking thing would render the entire movie moot is another matter entirely (seriously, she even gives him the damn thing. Had the guy taken the wrong manuscript into the bathroom after taco night, he never would have had any problems down the line). So in order to make this a "twist", they leave her in the background through most of the movie, so I am just sitting there wondering how long it will be until she is revealed to be the killer.
The other problem is that the viewer has to believe that a man wouldn't be interested in Shiri Appleby:
Otherwise it's actually not too bad of a movie. For what it's worth, the plot twist works well in the context of the rest of the film (ironically, maybe this would make a better book), and the acting is good. Even Blucas, who wasn't exactly Olivier on Buffy, manages to make his asshole character fairly sympathetic. The quality was good for what I am pretty sure is some form of digital media (there are no extras of any sort on the disc to help solve this non-mystery). It barely qualifies as horror (though there's a pretty gruesome scene where a character feeds another's remains to a bunch of pigs), but as a thriller it functions on the level it should, and I guess if you have no idea who Shiri Appleby is you might be surprised that her meek character turns out to be the Big Bad.
What say you?