Don’t Kill It (2017) – Review

91vQ2UIUwxL._SY445_.jpgAn ancient spirit is loosed upon the world, as such things so often are. This one possesses people and kills without pause until somebody kills the host. Then it possesses them, and keeps on killing. Something must be done.

Dolph Lundgren is a travelling demon-killer who you are supposed to think is effortlessly cool. He has a cowboy hat and an e-cig and he puts his feet up on other peoples’ desks. You may not feel that that description constitutes “effortlessly cool”, but the director disagrees with you, and the film is going to labour the point endlessly.

The demon itself is a rather generic black-eyed and hoarsely screaming one, in keeping with the cast of stereotypical characters – the wild-eyed preacher, the sleepy small-town cop, the officious FBI agent who doesn’t understand until it’s too late. There is no surprising or unexpected characterisation.

Everything in this film is incredibly clumsy, from the cliché-ridden narrative to the clumsy exposition – delivered almost entirely through one continuous speech from a man being very slowly manhandled out of a very small room. Don’t Kill It is a film with no conception of subtlety or craft; everything is spelt out baldly. Characters exist solely to advance the plot and they do so by saying the next plot hook and then repeating it endlessly while the camera lingers on them. Perhaps the most egregious example is the prostitute character – she is introduced just to allow a sex scene and show that the hunter is a nice guy, and the audience discovers that she has the predictable daddy issues through her open announcement of them.

Don’t Kill It is also a film that thinks that violence is entertainment in itself, a viewpoint that I have always found rather worrying. Gore for the sake of gore does not make entertaining watching, and the cartoonish nature of it in this film doesn’t excuse that. It’s both lazy and unpleasant; good horror is subtle, not gratuitous.

This is not a good film, and I cannot recommend it to you. The most interesting thing is the monster concept, made clear in both the title and the first few minutes. Everything else is generic, paint-by-numbers, modern horror, with nothing new and no particular grace to redeem it.

Buy it here, or watch it on Netflix.

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