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Gothkill (2009)

DVD Cover (Wild Eye Releasing)
Director:
James Connelly James Connelly
Starring:
Anastacia Andino Anastacia Andino
Eve Blackwater Eve Blackwater
Juliya Chernetsky Juliya Chernetsky
Michael Day Michael Day
Frank Dudley Frank Dudley

3.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Horror, Slasher Film, Supernatural Horror
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Review by Crispy
Added: October 05, 2009
At night, in a secluded field, Nicholas Dread's followers have gathered to worship him, and although they don't know it yet, to die for him. See, Dread was a Scottish priest during the Inquisition, and had personally tortured confessions of witchery out of more than a handful of women. However, he soon learns that it's all bullshit, and the church are burning innocent women in order to attain their wealth. Naturally, his declaration that he will bring an end to this goes over like a lead balloon, and he finds himself burning alongside the "witches". With his dying breath, he denounces God and turns his worship to Satan. Dread has been given the opportunity to rule a kingdom of one hundred thousand souls, providing he kills them himself. Of course, it's hard to kill that many people and not earn the fuzz's attention, and Dread spends some time in prison. Meanwhile, out in the city, Annie has moved in with her friend Kate, who has gone Goth since she last saw her. While out to get Annie some black latex before hunting down a goth party for the night, the girls are invited to a Scorpion Society party. Notoriously throwing the greatest "vampire parties" in the city, Kate is extremely excited about the whole thing. However, she has no idea about the Society's darker intentions, nor of the fact that they've recently come into possession of Dread's spellbook.

A movie like this is going to go one of either two ways. Either A) it was going to be really long and tedious, or B) it was going to be mindless trash and therefore, a shitload of fun. Well, the first five minutes put one hell of a smile on my face. In a scene masterfully lit with fire, Dread charismatically narrates "they've gathered to worship their Lord and Master: ME!" before breaking out a shotgun and going on a killing spree. Unfortunately, the movie kind of loses it after that. For one thing, there's no real direction, as the switch from Dread in jail to Kate and Annie isn't very smooth at all. Also, for a film that's only seventy-five minutes, there sure is a lot of padding throughout. Little things here and there, like focusing on a character walking away a few seconds too long. It sounds like a minor thing, but after a while it gets annoying. However, there is some redemption to be found, because once you reach the final third of the film, the fun factor I was hoping for from the beginning finally kicked in. There were some really cool techniques used for these final minutes from our director, but that's treading heavily into spoiler country, so I'll restrain myself. The only technical aspect I truly had a problem with was the sound. There were a lot of scenes, mainly those in wide open places, where the dialog is barely audible. It'd be nice if the mics were brought in just a little closer in these scenes.

As soon as I read the synopsis, I just knew the acting in this was going to be atrocious. Turns out, it wasn't that bad for the most part. Let's start with our main man, Flambeaux. Now, he's kind of a mixed bag, as he's really not too great of an actor in the traditional sense. In the calmer, more emotional scenes, especially the flashbacks, he's quite horrible in fact. However, on the flip side, he's a fucking blast when it's time to let it go balls to the walls. You can tell he's having a ball in these scenes, and that definitely shines through. Also, he has a quasi-narrator role throughout the running time, and his bitterly sarcastic delivery is great. Our supporting characters, Kate and Annie, played by Eve Blackwater and Erica Giovinazzo respectively, were both decent enough, especially Giovinazzo when the climax hits. Perhaps the biggest disappointment casting wise is the biggest name attached to this film: Mistress Juliya. You see, it's not that she's bad in her role, it's just that her role is barely used, despite her top billing. Now, don't get me wrong, I have no problem with this in itself, since it's pure publicity, but they could have found a better role for her. There's one scene where she's painted red in a bikini top standing behind Dread on a throne, and another of her in biker gear beating the hell out of some guy in the alley. And she's done. I would rather have seen her take on a bit more of a relevant cameo; like the witch in the beginning perhaps, no offense to Julie Saad here.

It's not a perfect film by any means, but there's some fun to be had with it. Now that the Dread character is introduced, the sequels (Connelly has said he has some ideas brewing) can jump right into the heart of things, and I'm certainly looking forward to them. And considering that this movie suffered from a certain swindler draining the budget, I'd love to see what happens when he's actually able to put the cash into the movie. 5.5/10 on this first installment, but I'm definitely going to look into the future of Nicholas Dread.
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