As KillHer opens, Mattie (Jenna Z. Alvarez, Club Mickey Mouse: When December Comes, Kidding) is just days away from getting married and her best friend Eddie (M.C. Huff, My Stretch of Texas Ground, Right Place Wrong Time) has planned a camping trip for the bachelorette weekend. That doesn’t sit well with Jess (Emily Hall, The Last Inn, Lumina) and Rae (Nicole Lovince, Skin in the Game, Pitch Perfect) who feel like they’ve been pushed aside since Mattie and Eddie became friends.
Also somewhere in the woods is Jagger (Jack Schumacher, Top Gun: Maverick, Purity), Mattie’s fiance. The idea being that they’ll surprise him and his buddies by setting up camp next to them and having a party weekend. Of course, if they’d seen Slashlorette Party they might have reservations about combing the bride and groom’s weekends.
And they certainly have some reservations after they set up their tent next to what they think is Jagger’s tent. Only to find it actually belongs to Mr. Rogers (Tom Kiesche, Alien Raiders, WRZ: White Racist Zombies) who looks like Mick from Wolf Creek and has a personality and weapons collection to match.
As well as playing Mr. Rogers, Kiesche also wrote KillHer’s script, and he and director Robyn August (Doggy See Evil, Party With Me) get the leads into the woods fairly quickly and then, give or take a couple of flashbacks, introduce them in the film’s setting. This is a nice change from, and a bit more effective than, the usual endless talk on the drive to the woods.
Unfortunately, it still takes way too long for KillHer to start killing hers, or anyone for that matter. Not only are we well into the film, but in a rather ballsy move the script pretty definitively tells us who the killer is before the rampage starts. Granted it wasn’t hard to guess before then either, but it takes something away from most slashers to know the killer’s identity beforehand.
The kills themselves, once we get to them are on the bloody side, and done with practical effects which is always a plus. I just wish there were more of them, KillHer has a small cast, the only other characters of any importance being the motel clerk/karaoke star HXB (Harrison White, Resurrected, VHYes) and Doc Loc (Ron Roggé, No Man’s Land: The Rise of Reeker, Atomic Apocalypse).
Despite being referred to as a “campy camping slasher” I can’t say I found much camp on KillHer’s campsite. There is a fair amount of humour, ranging from the expected darkly funny moments to some over the top moments once the killer fully loses their shit and starts chewing up the scenery as well as carving up the cast. That includes a finale where everyone gets in on the bloodletting, a six month later mid-credit scene is a bit of a disappointment though.
The cast all give energetic performances that help KillHer get past some of its less effective moments, most of which come in the film’s first half. The lead-up to the killings isn’t quite as clever as it thinks it is and at times is rather cringy, but the actors manage to make the most of it until the plot finds its footing.
And it’s that lack of footing and cohesion that holds KillHer back. It’s a fun film as is, but if it had gotten around to the slashing sooner and kept the humour on the dark side it would have fared better. Instead, it shifts from a silly girls’ weekend film to a grimly funny horror comedy back towards silly at the end. If you don’t mind the tonal shifts it’s still worth your time.
Dark Sky Films will release KillHer in theaters as well as on Digital Platforms on October 20th.