J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Friday, March 24, 2017

BUFF ’17: 68 Kill

Its called exploitation for a reason. Neither the filmmaker or the characters of this gleefully sordid, southern-fried caper gives a toss if it hurts your feelings or upsets your delicate sensibilities. People are going to get humiliated, beaten-up silly, and all kinds of dead in Trent Haaga’s 68 Kill, which screens tonight during the 2017 Boston Underground Film Festival.

A femme fatale vixen like Liza ought to be well out of the league of Chip, a truly luckless loser, but they probably deserve each other. She treats him like dirt and he keeps coming back for more. Unfortunately, he does not make enough money mucking out septic tanks to cover their rent, so every month she pays off the landlord in “services rendered.” Unfortunately for him, he lets it slip during their awkward pillow talk that he has 68 grand in cash, currently on hand, just begging for Liza to hatch a violent home invasion scheme to snatch it away.

Of course, that is exactly what she does, dragging the alarmed Chip along to ride shotgun. Seeing how easily Liza guns down her victims makes rethink their relationship, especially when he lays eyes on Violet (another woman reluctantly forced to service the late landlord). Chip is smitten and also horrified by Liza’s plans for their captive (they are utterly appalling), so he coldcocks his soon-to-be ex, grabs the money and the girl and starts running for all he’s worth. Obviously, Liza will be hot on their trail, with Hell following after her, but a group of sadistic white trash psychopaths might turn out to be a more pressing problem.

68 Kill is a lurid, nihilistic revel in perversity, but it is bizarrely entertaining to see how low it is willing to go. When Haaga hits rock bottom, he starts drilling into the Earth’s crust. This film just wallows in primordial sleaze, but you have to give it credit for making due on its promise.

Based on his performance as Chip, Matthew Gray Gubler would probably make a good whipping post. Seriously, it often just hurts to watch him. On the other hand, AnnaLynne McCord is beyond fierce as Liza, the villainess from Hell. However, Sheila Vand (as you’ve never seen her before) totally hangs with McCord’s Liza as Monica, the goth-trash psycho-hooker. Alisha Boe also keeps the audience off balance as Violet. She looks and acts sweet, but she archly delivers some of the dirtiest lines in the film.

To his credit, Haaga keeps it all zinging along. This is everything My Father Die aspired to be, but fell far short of reaching. Recommended for its sheer chutzpah, 68 Kill screens tonight (3/24) as part of this year’s BUFF.

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