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Killer Me

Killer Me

2001, Dir. Zachary Hansen

George Foster, Christina Kew


Killer Me, an independent film by Zachary Hansen, presents the love story of two whackjob college students. Anna is your typical doe-eyed fish out of water who in her absolute desperation to forge a relationship forces herself upon Joe. Joe's an older fella who is trying the old college thing on for size after a few years of slumming around. By the way, he may or may not be a homicidal maniac. Plagued by noises, voices, and haunting flashbacks, Joe is just trying to maintain some kind of normalcy by attending classes and working at the university library, which I can tell you from experience is most definitely a step in the wrong direction. Killer Me is a low-budget thriller with no abundance of blood and gore. Instead the film decides to focus on the development of the relationship between Anna and Joe, and it is in these segments that the film is at its most effective.

The initial encounters between our star-crossed lovers are painfully awkward and excruciating to watch. It seems as if Anna has to summon up all of her strength to say anything and Joe's pregnant pauses create an expectation that borders on flat out suspense. I'm tempted to start rambling and lavishing superlatives onto our actors, but I'll just say that they are perfect for the parts. Joe is played by George (both Wayne's World movies!) Foster, who strikes me as a Mean Streets era Harvey Keitel. His character, both disaffected and internally conflicted, is played with a quiet intensity that comes across even when he's poking at cold mac and cheese. Christina Kew makes her film debut as Anna and steals the show. Anna is the type of girl who jumps at her own shadow and then apologizes for being in its way, and Kew avoids playing into the mousy stereotypes of such characters. It's just as riveting to watch her psychosis develop as it is to observe Joe's turmoil.

Killer Me is a wonderful example of a filmmaker working within his means. I don't know the exact budget, but this production didn't have deep pockets. Countless monetarily challenged films of this ilk opt to drench the production in fake blood to make an impression; the end result being the impression that the film was made by a bunch of unimaginative hacks. While Killer Me lacks the budget to pull off realistic and gory setpieces it comes through in the department that doesn't cost a damn thing - the script. A plausible story, relevant dialogue, and intriguing narrative structure generate far more interest than wondering who's going to be offed next and how. The characters and their issues develop at an even pace that grows frenetic towards the end of the film. Their actions are unpredictable and fascinating to watch.

I've been coy about the plot because I don't want to give anything away. Killer Me is not what you expect and I'd hate to ruin it. What it is is a calling card from a director whose presence in the indie world is an exciting one. It's a well-told tale with characters you can care about and a storyline that will keep you riveted until the final frame. In other words, it's everything that mainstream thrillers are not. As of now it's not commercially available, but director Zachary Hansen says that may change soon. Keep an eye out for Killer Me and you will not be disappointed.