Murder Party (2007)

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On Halloween Eve in Brooklyn, an average Joe loser named Chris finds an invitation to a costume party. Arriving at the "party", Chris discovers he's fallen prey to the lethal trap set by deranged artists. As the night wears on, rivalries within the group flare up. A body count accrues, and Chris must take advantage of the ensuing chaos if he's to survive the night. --IMDb
Chris Sharp
Chris Sharp
Kate Porterfield
Kate Porterfield
Tess Porterfield Lovell
Tess Porterfield Lovell
Puff Snooty
Puff Snooty
Damon Lindsay
Damon Lindsay
Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 03, 2007
The horror genre was well represented at the 2007 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, for the first time since "Hide & Creep" and "Dead & Breakfast" zombied it up a few years ago. This year saw films like "Blood Car" wowing audiences and films like "Mexican Sunrise" doing about as much for audience members as a bottle of taco scented cologne. For me, the real standout of the festival, in terms of originality and production value, was "Murder Party", the inventive and entertaining new horror/comedy from writer and director Jeremy Saulnier. The film, despite technical difficulties during the prime time screening, was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience, and what a testament that very few people left the film during the malfunctions. Just like me, everyone was glued to the screen and waiting to see what would happen next. "Murder Party" turned out to be one of the very brightest films of the entire weekend, and it ended up encoring on Sunday.

The film stars Chris Sharp as Chris, a male meter maid who loves his hypnotic cat and has a knack at making delicious pumpkin loaf. The film opens with Chris finding an invitation on the ground inviting him to a 'murder party'. The invitation looks harmless enough, though the idea of going to something called a 'murder party' is something only a true moron would overlook. So, he goes, and is immediately attacked and tied up by a group of artists wanting to kill him for their art, with the hopes of winning a grant from Alexander (Sandy Barnett), a pretentious ass who brings along his drug dealer, Zycho (Bill Tangradi), for back up. His biggest rival seems to be Paul (Paul Goldblatt), who is a photographer and takes his work very seriously. Lexi (Stacy Rock) is also gung ho about the murder, as is Macon (Macon Blair), who is in love with Lexi. Bill (William Lacey) just sits around and plays video games, while everyone else makes fun of his art, even though they all seem more jealous than anything else. The film basically revolves around the group of artists as they try to decide what to do with Chris, who is dressed in his make shift knight's costume, with the cardboard and duct tape galore. Chris escapes a couple of times, and we eventually learn that Alexander has a dark secret that no one else knows about, a potentially deadly one.

The humor in this film is exceptional. The opening and closing sequences with Chris are nothing short of brilliant and they really open the film and tie it together in ingenious ways. The writing is very crisp and very intelligent, and writer Jeremy Saulnier has really managed to parody the artsy fartsy attitudes of a lot of New York 'artists in resident'; in everything from the inflated egos for their own work to the final 'slice and dice' seen with the human works of art. The humor is what makes "Murder Party" work so well and the writing is what separates it from all of the other horror-comedy hybrids coming out these days. I also have to compliment the make-up effects and the blood work with the film, especially with Macon, who eventually becomes the...well...whatever it is he becomes after 'the accident'. All of the bloody sequences were very well staged and the film seemed to have a much higher production budget than it did. The filmmakers managed to craft a quality film that looks as polished and mainstream as anything out in theatres right now. The highlight of the film, for me, comes when Chris has locked himself in a closet and looks around for a weapon he can use. He eventually chooses some, opens the door and...well, that's about as much as I am going to give away. You can find out the rest when you see it for yourself.

As for the performances, there isn't a weak link in the bunch, which is amazing considering director Jeremy Saulnier used mostly friends for the film, with a couple of SAG actors thrown in. Chris Sharp is the highlight as Chris, as he manages to find this awkward, goofy balance and really turns into a character that we love to root for. Sandy Barnett makes a great asshole as Alexander, and Macon Blair is hysterical as the guy who loves the girl who doesn't love him back. In addition to the strong performances, you'll also notice some neat throwbacks to the 1980's. The character of Lexi is dressed as a character from "Blade Runner" and the character of Bill is dressed as a gang member from "The Warriors". Chris has the best costume, but that's just because it becomes such an iconic part of the film. "Murder Party" makes you thoroughly interested in almost all of these characters, even the ones who are set up as 'more villainous' than the others. When a character bites it, you almost feel sorry for them, even though they were going to kill your favorite character.

As for me, I can't wait to see what Jeremy Saulnier does next. "Murder Party" surprised me on a multitude of levels, and even the technical difficulties at the Carver Theatre could not stop me from enjoying the film thoroughly. It's just not every day you find a low budget horror film like this that manages to look so much more than it is. The film is going to be making a limited run in theatres and will then enjoy a DVD release in October, so you won't have to wait long to see it. You can also visit the official website and give it a look and see if you're interested. This wasn't the best film of the festival this year, but it was certainly the most consistently entertaining.

Review by ThunderStruck5a
Added: September 14, 2007
"Life is art" although according to Murder Party, so is death.

Coming out of the 2007 Slamdance Film Festival and Vail Film Festival with a few wins, Murder Party follows lone, parking enforcer, Chris (Chris Sharp) on his way home from work on Halloween. On his way he finds an invitation to a mysterious 'murder party' he just can't pass up (because what's more irresistible that pretending you were actually invited to something?).

The address on the invitation leads Chris to the dark, dank backstreets of someplace your mother always told you to avoid. Not only is he there, alone, without telling anyone where he was; but he's also dressed in his homemade Lance-a-lot costume. A bad combination unless you're looking for a beatdown.

Chris arrives to find five aspiring artists waiting for their 'special guest'. They quickly proceed to bind him to a chair and prepare to murder him, in the name of art. Before they can kill him though, they have to wait for Alexander to arrive; a man who's promised them large sums of grant money for their priceless art. Shit hits the fan though when Alexander arrives, and everyone gets dirty.

This film was shot (for the most part) in the warehouse, which is always a good place to tie someone up (see Reservoir Dogs, Narc). Chris Sharp didn't have to do much acting, besides being tied to a chair, which he did flawlessly. Everyone else did a good enough job as well, keeping the movie flowing at a nice, steady pace; not to mention it was the first feature length film for most of these actors/actresses.

The people that say this film is chock full of non-stop laughs obviously see things a lot differently than I do. I am not however saying this film is not funny, but I would not recommend getting ready to shit yourself with laughter because you will be sorely disappointed (but your pants will be grateful). There is enough comedy to hold you over though as well as enough blood (which apparently for the one scene leaked through the floor and the tenant below woke up to see his walls and ceiling bleeding....freaky).

I had a great time watching this and can't wait for another one from The Lab of Madness.

bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 09/14/2007, 12:47 PM
I am seeing this film at the Sidewalk Film Festival in a couple weeks. Can't wait.
Ginose #2: Ginose - added 10/03/2007, 06:32 PM
Fuck... I really need to see this one now, sounds fun as hell...
Tristan #3: Tristan - added 10/09/2007, 11:15 PM
I can already tell I'll never find this anywhere near me. I couldn't even get Alligator or Black Sheep. I need an HMV.
Crispy #4: Crispy - added 10/09/2007, 11:51 PM

*innocent whistling*
Tristan #5: Tristan - added 10/09/2007, 11:54 PM
This one sounds like it warrants a purchase.
Crispy #6: Crispy - added 10/09/2007, 11:59 PM
Without a doubt, but torrents keep ya held over until
Chad #7: Chad - added 11/04/2007, 03:17 AM
I only rented it, and still, I feel a little cheated - I mean, I could have gotten something great instead of this. Well, to be fair, it's not an awful movie, but after these reviews and the reviews I've read elsewhere, I was really disappointed when I found that it was barely an average release. 5/10.
bluemeanie #8: bluemeanie - added 11/05/2007, 12:15 PM
OK -- 'barely an average release'. Having read some reviews you've written for some real inexcusable pieces of crap, calling this 'barely an average release' seems a little ridiculous.
Chad #9: Chad - added 11/05/2007, 10:40 PM
My problem with this one was that it simply wasn't entertaining for large stretches of time. Let's see... I really liked how they showed the town all dressed up for Halloween during the opening credits, I liked the introduction to the main guy in his apartment, and I got a good laugh out of his interaction with his cat. Then, he moved over to the warehouse, and things pretty much went to shit. There were some good scenes in there, don't get me wrong, but it seemed like they put way too much emphasis on the "villains" instead of the main guy. Yeah, he gets his time to shine towards the end and things turned around for the better after he escaped, but most of the running time between the opener and that ending was dull to say the very least.
grain of sand #10: grain of sand - added 11/24/2007, 02:23 PM
this was a fun one, watched it after thanksgiving dinner and really enjoyed everything about it, no complaints really.. it had a certain charm that low budgies lack these days for suuure, this was something fresh and it was nice to watch.
I love my chainsaw deaths....
Crispy #11: Crispy - added 04/19/2009, 01:33 PM
Bored me to tears.
Hellknight03 #12: Hellknight03 - added 07/02/2009, 08:48 PM
I thought it was okay. 6.5 /10
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