Early in Killer Kate!, we overhear a news snippet about an all-too-familiar incident – a driver for an Uber/Lyft/rideshare app is convicted of molestation – which turns out to be the hook on which this far-fetched, yet weirdly credible stand-your-girl-ground siege picture hangs. It opens with whiskery maniac Briskman (Robert Donavan) and his four contrasting children planning a spree killing. Intense Christina (Tiffany Shepis) wants to get on with it, flakey Terry (Brandon Bales) has imaginative notions about hiding in a fridge and jumping out on a victim, nebbish Jimmy (Grant Lyon) goes with the majority but keeps pointing out this is a bad idea, and weed Tino (Preston Flagg) sobs because even apparent lunatics don’t trust him along on this jaunt. We then cut to the intended victims, a bachelorette party held at an ‘LAB&B’ isolated home in the mountains to which Kate (Alexandra Feld) comes though she’s semi-estranged from the bride, her sister Angie (Danielle Burgess), and doesn’t know the other two women, upbeat Sara (Amaris Davidson) and cynical Mel (Abby Eiland).
‘A Feld Family Production’, directed and co-written (with Daniel Moya) by Elliot Feld and a vehicle for the director’s wife, this is a strange take on the familiar home invasion movie. There’s surprisingly subtle characterwork in the interplay between the sisters, which keeps us see-sawing as to which is to blame for the coolness in their relationship, and even in the tangle of mixed motives among the killers. It also has a skewed, unpredictable, sometimes slack approach to its horror elements – with the first-time killers blundering and the bloodied Kate emerging as a particularly determined survivor girl, but also moments where everyone’s train of thought goes off into sidings. A pizza guy who seems a likely added victim pops in and sensibly runs off, but there are never any consequences from his intervention – the killers don’t up the pace because they assume the cops will be on their way. Briskman, for reasons that become apparent in a witty finale, has put his own home up as a killing ground on the AirB&B-like app and Jimmy keeps reminding his siblings that though it’s important to massacre the bachelorettes they should be careful not to damage expensive windows and doors in the process.
Little comic or philosophical moments are appreciated, but mean this isn’t the relentless, grueling experience that, say, Revenge is – but Alexandra Feld gets a great star-making showcase as the wry, interesting, romantic, determined and ultimately killer Kate.