KILLER PARTY (a.k.a. Monster Party) *** USA 2018 Dir: Chris Van Hoffman 89 mins
In writer-director Chris Van Hoffman’s engaging black comedy, three young small-time thieves (Sam Strike, Virginia Gardner, Brandon Micheal Hall) target a Malibu mansion so that they can repay some of their life-threatening debts. Posing as catering staff, they enter the home of a weird high society family: fragile matriarch Robin Tunney, aloof Julian McMahon and unhinged son Elliot (Kian Lawley). Their alienated daughter proves helpful to the outsiders when the shit hits the fan – including the presence of Something in the basement behind a sign warning “Private Collection”. This visits the familiar territory of broad, gory class-war horror, as covered with vigour and wit by Brian Yuzna’s unforgettable SOCIETY and Wes Craven’s Gulf War-era THE PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS. Van Hoffman’s heightened sense of style accompanies a stream of marvellously mean-spirited dialogue, the stand-out featuring FRINGE’s deadpan Lance Reddick relishing “The only reason you’re not in some maximum-security prison with cum dripping out of your ass is because of me…” A strong cast has fun with the material, though it’s a shame the potentially fascinating McMahon and Tunney (back in horror after toplining major 90’s genre flicks THE CRAFT and END OF DAYS) have relatively little to do. It’s executed with panache and goes all-out with a Grand Guignol climax showcasing chainsaws, limb-lopping and intestine spillage – though the tone errs closer to Monty Python than the nihilistic savagery of Tobe Hooper or the surrealistic perversity of Yuzna.
Review by Steven West