Title: 68 Kill (Fantasia 2017 review)

Also known as:

Year: 2017

Genre: Crime / Comedy / Thriller / Romance

Language: English

Runtime: 93 min

Director: Trent Haaga

Writer: Trent Haaga (screenplay), Bryan Smith (novel)

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5189894/

Life is not great for Chip and Liza, so Liza finds a way for them to score $68,000 it does not take a lot of effort to get Chip to join her. All it takes is breaking into a house and grab the money from a vault, and then they can start a new life together! Of course, everything imaginable goes wrong and Chip's life will never be the same again.

Our thoughts:
Trent Haaga's name is not a household name yet, but if you have an interest in indie horror, darkly comic violent thrillers and the world of Troma, then you have probably seen something he has been involved in. After graduating from Troma (I think that's a fitting term for some of the amazing filmmakers that come from the school of Lloyd Kaufman), he has been part of some noteworthy titles: he wrote "Deadgirl", "American Maniacs", TV's "TalhotBlond", the amazing "Cheap Thrills", starred as the title character in the "Killjoy" movies, directed one of the most entertaining comedy thrillers of this decade ("Chop"), and helped writing the horror game "The Evil Within" (and its upcoming sequel). Mind you, this list is only includes some of his work so I could go on and on about his achievements. And lucky me, Trent Haaga is back as writer and director with one of his best films yet, "68 Kill"! The script is based on the book of the same name by Bryan Smith (author of books such as "Depraved" and "The Killing Kind, and someone who is not a stranger to the violent and disturbing).

Chip (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Liza (AnnaLynne McCord) have a good relationship going on, though they don't have the best jobs in the world. Chip is drains sewers, and Liza fucks rich men. One day, Liza finds out the code to one of the rich men's vault, where there's an envelope containing 68 big ones. With that much money she envisions a new life with Chip, and decides that they need to break in and steal it. It takes some convincing, but Chip loves her and she makes it hard for him to say "no" to her. The break-in seems to be going well, until Liza makes some quick decisions. Fast forward a bit and we find Chip and Liza in the car, with a girl in the trunk, and two dead bodies in the house. Chip is way out of his comfort zone and will have to stand up for himself if he want to get away from this situation...

Since I don't have much negative to say about "68 Kill", I might as well just shower it with my love straight away. Following in the footsteps of "Chop" and "Cheap Thrills", Haaga's new movie is one of the most energetic, fun, violent, and unpredictable crime comedies out there. As I have not read the book by Bryan Smith, I went into the movie expecting a typical "heist gone wrong" movie, and while things indeed go wrong I could never imagine exactly how wrong! Giving you the juicy details would spoil the fun, but if you like your humor extra dark and your violence extra messy, then "68 Kill" has you covered.

Though I have seen him pop up here and there, I have no real knowledge of Matthew Gray Gubler's career. He's not someone I would think about if I were to cast a movie myself, but that might have changed upon seeing him in "68 Kill". I can't think of anyone who could capture contrasting vibe so perfectly as he does here. He's the perfect actor for us to follow through this unbelievable ride, as he's someone we want to see succeed, but it's also extremely funny to see things not going his way. Meanwhile, AnnaLynne McCord's Liza might be one of the most bat-shit crazy female characters I've seen, but not without being funny while she does it. Pairing these two together helped making "68 Kill" the enjoyable movie that it was.

There is no better way to prepare for "68 Kill" than to watch Trent Haaga's previous movies "Chop" and "Cheap Thrills". If you've seen those then you know what to expect in terms of dark comedy, weird characters, sticky situations, and violence (but "68 Kill" has them beaten on every single point). Few have done shit-outta-luck comedy this great since Steve Martin's heyday, so it's easy to forget that this is more than just funny; it's a bloody, thrilling crime ride too. There is no one better at mixing these things than Trent Haaga, and I am happy he got to make a feature of Bryan Smith's book. Thanks to the right filmmaker and perfectly cast actors, this became a damn memorable experience and one of the highlights of Fantasia International Film Festival 2017.

Positive things:
- Damn funny!
- Damn violent!
- Damn unpredictable!
- Damn thrilling!
Negative things:
- Reminds me how rare it is for action/crime/thrillers to actually be fun. Thankfully this year has given us "68 Kill" and "Baby Driver"!

Gore: 3/5
Nudity: 1/5
Story: 3.5/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 4/5

We watched this movie thanks to:
Fantasia International Film Festival 2017

Reviewed by:


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