The premise of 'Kill Katie Malone' sold me the minute I heard it. No matter the results, no matter who starred in the film, I wanted to see it, at least once. I mean, I used to be an eBay addict, not so much that I bought gimmick auctions or bought feedback, but so much so that I ignored the fact that my attempts to make a few bucks on the side were really more of a pain in the ass than they were worth. In eleven years on the site, I've seen my share of stupid things. Reflecta-porn, made up stories about infidelity to get more bids, auctioned virginity, celebrity childhood homes...and that's just the sane stuff. I can't forget one auction I saw, that, right before the start of the NFL playoffs one year, where a seller was auctioning an aura. He claimed his Apple Jacks cereal poured into the bowl exactly in the shape of the Philadelphia Eagles logo, and supposedly took it out and glued it to a piece of paper, and was auctioning it for good luck to fans, or to curse the team for fans of their opponent.
Some asshole who mastered kindergarten-level art (minus the macaroni) made some money that day, and...well...it wasn't even a haunted aura, either. eBay has had its share of "supernatural" items go for sale, and I have to wonder about the sanity of buyers and sellers alike each time it hits the news. I take it back...I wonder about humanity. But for a while, every few months, a new elaborate, kooky story helped some creative, warped soul make a few bucks, and maybe five years later, some fool with more money than sense now has a box to put his unemployment paperwork in.
So...with the thousands of small time horror films made annually, how come none ever really touched this strange niche market and became well known? Take the premise, buying a ghost off an online auction site, and the rest of the film really writes itself, right? Isn't that right there enough to at least get the ball rolling? Throw in a few characters (the buyer, the seller, some people to have bad shit happen to), a setting, and some kooky backstory, and you have yourself a good hour plus worth of material to work with. Apparently, Carlos Ramos Jr. decided to make this strange phenomenon the basis of the first film he wrote and directed, and apparently he had less ideas for the film that I could jot down on a napkin if I only had my blood to write it with.
Jim (Stephen Colletti) doesn't have more money than he has sense. He wants to buy that strange haunted box on Ubid, but doesn't have the funds. After snaring his two closest friends (Masiela Lusha as Ginger, Jonathan McDaniel as Dixie) into loaning him the funds, he's the box's proud new owner. The thing is...the story may be real. As strange shit starts happening all around their college campus, the trio have to wonder if the tale of Katie Malone is more than just a fishwife's tale, and when the bizarre turns deadly, they have to discover a way to break the curse...or at least pawn it off on someone else!
You can't say there's no talent involved or on display in this film. See, it takes plenty of talent, a concentrated effort, really, to fuck up this thoroughly. 'Kill Katie Malone' is not a good film. It's not scary. It's not funny. It's nothing but boring, cliche, and predictable when it isn't stupid. There are so many gaps in logic and reality, so many unintentional laugh-out-loud moments and shit acting, you can't help but want this damned trainwreck to end, so that you can try to pawn off your copy of the disc cursed by a horrible succubus, emphasis obviously on suck.
I could rip this film so many new assholes that it would need a full body diaper, but I won't. I'll limit my laundry list of awfulness to, say...nine points that particularly stood out to me.
Design - Taking place on a campus, in a crappy dorm, you have most everything covered, and the cheap set decor can be explained by the lack of funds in possession of the lead actors. Win-win for set design and budget. Yet, 'Kill Katie Malone' still fails at looking believable. The issue is the site designs. I get it, they couldn't use eBay or Google, and didn't use Finder-Spyder from 'Prison Break.' So with "FindFast" (which looks shockingly like Google), we're drawn out of a scene, and with Ubid...holy hell are there problems. In the opening scenes of the film, revolving around buying the box, the characters talk about the situation, with the screen on in the background. It doesn't refresh. Characters say the price went up...but on screen, it's the same. Same goes for the time remaining. See, there's this thing called "high definition," and it means people can read the computer screen and notice it's a single mock up, not a functioning anything or even a video file. Lame.
Dean Cain - He's top billed, and is featured on the cover. He's also in the film for maybe less than two minutes worth of screen time. See, I would have been able to suffer more peacefully had he been in the film a little more, as I'll admit, I'm a big mark for the washed up actor. So...already, without even viewing the film, we've all been lied to. Perhaps his busy 2010 schedule of ten films meant he was only there for a day or two, and perhaps the fact that none of us have ever heard of any of them proves he's about done in terms of the mainstream, but dammit, when I'm promised Dean Cain, I want Dean Cain. You didn't think I was going to say he was an issue, did you? I mean, have you even seen him as Superman? Screw Christopher Reeve, man.
Ripping off 'The Grudge,' 'The Ring' - Bad territory, that. We've had enough of those "pale faced, shocking looking kids that materialize out of nothing" films. Audiences are sick of it. It doesn't work here. At all. It's not scary. It's overdone. It's cliche. Let it die.
Logic - At one point in the film, the ghost seeks to snuff out its three owners. It does so by wanting to kill the two accomplices before the guy who doesn't even have fifty bucks to buy a shitty box. In one scene, said ghost materializes, comes out of a mirror, and attacks someone. He's promptly tossed out of the room by his potential mate, due to acting like a goon, leaving one of the two box owning accomplices alone with a ghost that wants to kill it. Cut to the next day, and everyone is still alive. Apparently the ghost doesn't want to miss the big dance that happens that night!!! How hard is it to grab something in the room and collapse your enemy's throat with blunt trauma, stupid ghost, while they freaking sleep? Why do you only attack when they're awake and expecting you?
Imaginary Effects - Imagine being in acting class, and they're teaching you how to react to things that aren't in the room. With a "ghost" that is oft-not-visible, people have to react to being assaulted by a child (seriously, how strong is the little tyke?). In one sequence, this involves sticking out one's tongue and making faces to death. I'm not even making that up. It's past laughable, and even past hilarious. It's so horribly distracting (and just horrible), you can't help but shake your head.
Ghost Rules - Like the 'Final Destination' films, 'Kill Katie Malone' comes with its own set of rules that become revealed later, so as to stop the haunting of any group of people. This is just bullshit. Want to make a fucking scary film? The ghost doesn't stop killing until everyone that owns it is dead, and gets sold off or given to someone else. No, we want characters to live, despite never seeing them again once the ghost is no longer their fucking issue. How stupid is that?
Internet Scenes - Look, few films handle internet sequences properly. Even the awful 'Cry Wolf' manages to create tension out of the internet better than this. Oh no, we have to wait five minutes for the ghost to disappear, as my auction's minimum time requirement is exactly that! Oh no, my credit card on the payment service declined! Oh, that's really tense and/or scary. Golly gee, AT&T is my DSL provider and it drops out every twenty minutes...oh wait, that's my life. Still pretty scary.
Five Minute Internet Auctions - In what world does any internet auction site allow an auction to be five minutes long? Not this one. Fail, 'Kill Katie Malone.' Fail.
Nick Hogan - So bad you'd rather he crash a car into...whoa, this is getting pretty dark...
In closing, I want to say I've seen worse films than this. There aren't many of them, though. 'Kill Katie Malone' takes a great idea and literally takes a steaming shit all over it. I would rather watch a documentary of that guy gluing Apple Jacks to a piece of cardboard to ship to some fool than spend another lingering hour and a half on a film that rightfully should have ended at the thirty minute mark.
The Disc: Vital Stats
'Kill Katie Malone' comes to Blu-ray from Phase 4 Films on a Region A locked BD25 disc. There's some pre-menu content, four trailers, but they're more interesting than the film...unless they're all tease, and the movies are as crappy as this. I'm not quite sure about that part yet.
Presented in 1080p, 'Kill Katie Malone' is not an improvement over Phase 4's spotty track record. Expect to see this one in a three pack of films really fast. Heck, if it were three films on one disc, it probably wouldn't look any worse than it does here, as this 1080p transfer (AVC MPEG-4 encode, 1.78:1 aspect ratio) is borderline garbage.
Colors are so drab and boorish, throughout the entire film, there's not a single moment with any real pop. The picture is flat and uninteresting, and contrast levels are iffy. Banding is a big issue in a number of scenes, and can be hard to miss! Facial features are pretty lame, with very few moments with real character (just like the characters themselves), though clothing usually fares much better. This entire disc looks wonky and over-processed, like some odd digital malady. Simply put, it's fitting for this film.
The audio for 'Kill Katie Malone' may come by way of DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, but lossless doesn't save this screechy mess. Dialogue has its warbles, its distortion, its shrillness, so don't expect sharp, biting spoken word. Expect a film that sounds like it were recorded through a tin can and a string. The score doesn't hit the rear channels worth a damn, coming through only every so often, and when it does as an indistinguishable mess that hurts any sounds from other channels. There's some light localization in a scene or two, and some light bass, but nowhere near as much as you'd want, considering how many paranormal activities are in this film. That was a lame attempt at a pun, just like this track is a lame attempt at sounding passable.
The majority of retailers selling this disc are selling a one disc Blu-ray only edition, while Wal-Mart stores across the country have it in a two disc DVD + Blu-ray combo pack. Regardless of what edition you get, on the Blu-ray disc, there's a Trailer (HD, 2 min) for the film. The scoring here is for the edition I bought. If you get the one disc version, cut this score in half.
Since 'Kill Katie Malone' was so thoroughly butchered, I'm done talking about it in full sentences. I've wasted enough words on a film that would take six monkeys two hours and a pack of smokes to write. So... premise good. Film bad. Film very bad. Film has Nick Hogan. That bad. Disc look and sound like crap. You no buy.