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  Murder Party Halloween Knight
Year: 2007
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Stars: Chris Sharp, Alex Barnett, Macon Blair, Paul Goldblatt, William Lacey, Staci Rock, Skei Saulnier, Bill Tangrandi, Beryl Guceri, Beau Sia
Genre: Horror, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Chris (Chris Sharp) is a lonely parking attendant who makes his way home this Halloween evening with no party to go to and nothing to do but eat candy and watch the horror videos he has rented. However, as he walks, he notices an envelope caught by the breeze and steps on it to stop it blowing away. It's an invitation to something called "Murder Party": "Come Alone" it says and Chris is intrigued, but is he intrigued enough to take up the offer? He gets back to his apartment and tries to settle down, but his cat won't move from his armchair and he decides, what the hell, he'll go. Dressing up as a knight with a cardboard box costume, he bakes pumpkin bread and ventures out into the darkness, but does he know what he's letting himself in for?

The clue's in the title here, and this was the first feature length (it's about an hour and a quarter long) project by a group calling themselves The Lab of Madness who included some of those who would make cult hit Blue Ruin five years later, here throwing caution to the wind and offering up a low budget horror comedy, mostly filmed in one location, that set its sights on the pretentions of the art world. It's an easy target, and they pretty much hit it here, as the party that Chris is going to turns out not even to be the coolest around that night, and is actually one thrown by the frustrated art students who failed to get into that one.

Yet they have a plan to make their gathering more outrageous than their rival's, which has an art installation comprising of living people. Their answer to that? Have an installation, or at least a video project, displaying dead people, or at least a dead person, that person being the innocent Chris. He appears after a search for the warehouse address on the invitation and is almost immediately tied up as the costumed partygoers reject his pumpkin bread and wait around for the self-proclaimed coolest member of their circle, Alexander (Alex Barnett) to show up. While this happens, one girl tries the bread to her cost as she's allergic to the raisins in it.

She keels over, bumps her head and expires, a strong hint of where this story is going. The revellers don't want Alexander to find out, so they stuff the body into a disused chest freezer and by and by the life and soul of the party shows up, even more pretentious than any of them, for an evening of truth serum games and waiting for the midnight hour to do the deed. For most of the film you could be watching a play, as the flaws in the characters design their own downfall and it transpires that only one of them has what it takes to kill without compunction - you get the impression the others would feel bad about it the morning after, if that is any compensation, cold comfort if nothing else. The filmmakers are careful to make the hapless Chris the most sympathetic even with so few lines, so when the blood starts to flow, and it does plentifully, we feel the students are receiving their just desserts. For a comedy, it's not hugely funny, but it is brisk and energetic. Music by Brooke and Will Blair.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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