Directed by Jack Perez
2011, USA, 97 minutes
Black comedies are about things that most people don’t find funny. Torturous high school bullying. Meeting the eleven-year-old child you didn’t know you had. Suicidal thoughts and the overbearing mothers who mock them. Some Guy Who Kills People, the exceptional new black comedy by director Jack Perez and executive producer John Landis, has all this and more. Lots more. Also murder. Lots of murder.
This movie is carried by off-kilter leading man Kevin Corrigan (Pineapple Express, Fringe). His depressed, laconic turn as Ken Boyd, a thirty-five year old drudge recently released from a mental institution, is a joy to watch. A dirty, guilty joy. It works because Boyd’s surrounded by so many wonderful characters, amongst them his acerbic mother (Karen Black, House of 1000 Corpses), his precocious preteen daughter (Ariel Gade, Dark Water), and the irreverent town sheriff (Barry Bostiwick, The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Each of the actors handles their part perfectly, and their comic timing is impeccable.
Of course, the actors have a great script to work with. Writer Ryan A. Levin’s work is itself off balance, perhaps because the film works best if it’s as odd as Boyd. It has the wit of most comedies, but what makes it black is the sheer amount of casual cruelty it brings to bear. The audience feels so much empathy for the constantly beaten-down Boyd, but at the same time, we can’t help but enjoy the beatings. The figurative ones, anyway. The flashbacks to literal beatings are a bit queasy, but they make all the murder this film has sit better.
About halfway though Some Guy Who Kills People, I’d laughed my throat raw. Then again, I love black comedies that involve mentally damaged thirty-five year old losers with brutally violent revenge fantasies wherein they destroy their high school bullies. If you too can find humour in pain and suffering, then check out this nasty little delight.
– Dave Robson
The 6th Annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival runs October 20 though 27, 2011 at the Toronto Underground Cinema. For complete festival info visit www.torontoafterdark.com.