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Home > ‘Killer Book Club’ (2023): A Review

‘Killer Book Club’ (2023): A Review

Killer Friends

A mix of Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer, Killer Book Club is a slasher film that follows a group of friends connected through a shared love of horror books. Their friendship is put to the test when a series of events leads to a freak accident and someone’s gruesome death. As a result, the friends turn on each other as they simultaneously solve a murder and are hunted down individually by a masked killer. Directed by Carlos Alonso-Ojea, the film stars Velki Velilla(Yrreal), Àlvaro Mel(La Fortuna), and Priscilla Delgado(A League of Their Own), and more familiar faces. This film was released on Netflix on August 25, 2023.

General Plot

The film is set up to be self-aware, much like the infamous horror films Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. The problem is that it fails to actually be self-aware. Scream, for example, had an entire character who would explain familiar tropes in horror. This made it easier for the film to subvert the audience’s expectations at every turn. Killer Book Club fails to achieve anything similar. There are less than a handful of times when the film successfully subverts viewer expectations, and the rest is predictable. Even the ending may be easy for some to divine from a mile away, and, oddly enough, the movie tries to be self-aware by acknowledging tropes in horror but ends up giving up halfway through.

Getting through this film will require an amazing amount of suspended belief. The number of times a character does something that jeopardizes their safety for no apparent reason is incredible. At one point, despite knowing about the killer, a character leaves the safety of a vast crowd only to end up in a secluded greenhouse. While the reason she ran to the greenhouse is understandable (chased by security), nothing prevented her from leaving. The scene shows the security guards exiting the space, unsuccessful, giving her ample time and opportunity to escape the trap. Stranger still, she spends two solid minutes trying to open a locked glass door instead of going where she came from, which was not far away. Another frustrating occurrence is how often the characters get the upper hand on the killer only to tempt fate by focusing on unmasking the killer rather than running or striking the finishing blow. This happens more than once.

Lack of Character

The Characters are… kind of just there. The film follows a group of friends connected via a love for horror literature, yet they don’t come off as friends. A lack of chemistry makes it difficult to believe these people hang out outside the book club. Two established couples are in the group, but it feels like a case is being told and not shown. Viewers are expected to believe this is a group of friends whose paranoia destroys them from the inside out. Sadly, that doesn’t work when it feels like the group is composed of loose acquaintances.

The character development is another brain scratch. A key component in slashers and most horror films is character development, which may be hard to believe. Thinking about it, however, it should be easy to understand why. When a character is relatable and likable, viewers will stay tuned, hoping to see their favorite character survive. On the flip side, if a character is hateable enough, viewers will stay tuned in hopes of watching them snuff it. A significant problem with this film, which makes it fail as even an average slasher, is that most characters are poorly developed. Aside from a character who acts like the typical jerk, most of the characters in the film will leave viewers indifferent to their deaths. Sometimes, characters are introduced a couple of times, forgotten about, and brought back so viewers can see them die. Viewers cannot care about character B dying when that character is gone for half the film. The lack of character development makes it easy to ignore what’s happening on screen.

Design of Death

The best part about slasher within the realm of horror is that this genre often has the most unique and creative kills/death scenes. Imagine Saw without its iconic death traps or if the deaths happened off-camera. Luckily, the film has some fantastic and creative kill shots, from getting disemboweled to throat slits and falling from a building and landing face-first on a conveniently placed spike. They’re also not afraid to linger on the victim’s face when they bite the dust, making for some decent shots.

 Like iconic slashers like Jason Voorhees with his machete or Freddy Krueger with his claw, the killer has their signature weapon, which is… an antique Warhammer.  While a certifiable tool for killing and bloodshed, this weapon just comes off as so exotic that it’s hard to take seriously. It’s as if they went out of their way to make unique weapons, but there is no logic behind it. Is it because the setting is a university? It’s entirely unclear. Try imagining a slasher film where the killer uses a katana. It would probably come off as cringe, and the costume they used is genuinely disappointing. The costume is supposed to be reminiscent of a clown, but the mask is so non-threatening that it fails to elicit any response. The producers would’ve been better off using a generic plastic clown mask instead.

The Verdict

From casual fans to slasher connoisseurs, it’s unlikely that anyone will enjoy this film. Even fans of bad but entertaining movies will find this film lacking. Seriously, there is better development and payoff from TLC’s Milf Manor than this attempt at a slasher. Now, Netflix’s library is too extensive to waste time on this film.

Killer Book Club (2023) Official Netflix Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Author

A lover of gore and over the top violence, no movie can make my stomach squirm. The only thing better than a bloody death scene is a well choreographed stunt. Whether it be action or horror, if it has blood in it, then I've likely already seen it.
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I am an aspiring author living and working out of Honolulu, Hawaii. I received my bachelor's degree in Art History at Westmont College and then pursued a master's in Museum Studies at the University of Hawaii. I am currently working on a few novels, and am thankful for the opportunity to expand my creative writing voice at Dead Talk Live.