J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Killer Party: Worst Baby Shower Ever

When the zombie apocalypse comes, it will be important to have good representation. Fresh water and non-perishable food will also be helpful in the short run, but if you survive, you will want someone who can negotiate a good back-end deal. Fortunately, an aspiring screenwriter and his mega-pregnant actress wife just happen to be at their agent’s house for a baby shower when the weird homicidal pathogen rears its ugly viral head. LA will get even more nuts in Alex Drummond’s Killer Party (a.k.a. The Shower, trailer here), which releases today on VOD.

Like most of Joanne’s clients who haven’t already given up, Nick and Mary live hand-to-mouth waiting tables. To make the get-together even more uncomfortable, Joanne’s one famous meal ticket star has rather awkwardly taken up with the profoundly discouraged nice-guy Tommy’s ex, KIm. However, all bets are off when the zombie uprising dawns. Frankly, everyone is caught rather flat-footed, except Joanne’s long-suffering assistant Beth, who almost welcomes the opportunity to vent her frustrations.

As a zombie outbreak comedy, Killer Party is decidedly hit-or-miss, but it deserves credit for putting its own unique spin on the sub-genre. Instead of brain dead shuffling hordes, Drummond’s infected become ravingly homicidal loud-mouth jackasses, which is definitely different. Logically enough, none of the zombies (or whatever) or more obnoxious than the bargain basement clown Joanne hired to entertain the kids. He is one abrasive psychopath.

Unfortunately, the overstuffed cast of characters is often stuck on the sidelines looking stupid while the clown talks smack and Beth takes the fight to any zombie within a golf club’s reach of her. There are just too many bystanders and not enough trash-talkers. Do we care whether Tommy and Kim get back together? Nope, sorry. On the other hand, watching Beth club a feral child zombie to death—now that’s entertainment. Yes, Stephanie Tobey is awesome as the freshly liberated assistant—so much so, we can hardly remember anyone else.

Killer Party is amusing, but it feels like it could have been hilarious if Drummond had gone through five or ten more drafts. Still, watching it seems like a pretty fitting way to observe National Clown Week (technically just passed, but whatev), unless you were planning on re-reading Art of the Deal or It Takes a Village. Recommended as a gory bit of fluff, Killer Party is now available on VOD, from Epic Pictures.

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