Ella has always lived a rather sheltered life but when she begins her first year of college she finds herself constantly overcome with the desire — to kill. Confused, she finds herself at odds with her peers since she knows she should be interested in having sex but what she rather do with men is disembowel them. When she finally succumbs to her urges, Ella goes on a killing spree where no man is safe.
I don’t think anyone would argue that slasher films are one of the most formulaic and tired genre films out there in the horror world. Many filmmakers try to revamp the slasher and bring something new, but rarely are they able to escape the monotony. Nathan Oliver and his co-writer, Albert I. Melmad, found an interesting approach to their film that allowed them to break free from some of those debilitating genre film restraints.
Ella has lived a rather sheltered life but she remains well adjusted and is not much different than other young women her age. When she begins her first year of college, she finds herself conflicted — Ella knows she should be interested in engaging with the opposite sex but the idea repulses her. Instead she finds herself overcome with the desire to murder all of the men around her and, after misinterpreting an assignment that her psych professor hands out, Ella indulges in her desire and goes on a killing spree. While satisfying her lust, to an extent, with each man she butchers, Ella realizes these murders aren’t resolving the lingering problems she has. Soon Ella finds herself on a path of self discovery as she examines who she is and where she came from while the bodies continue to pile up.
It’s safe to say that the one element that’s going to grab people’s attention first is the fact that, as the title suggests, the movie is centered around a young-female killer. Had this been any other horror film, Kate Daly as Ella would have been the survival girl — the young virginal heroine we want to see survive in the end. Instead we’re treated to a complex character — a young woman who knows she’s different but doesn’t understand why. That is until she realizes she’s more interested in murder than sex.
While “Lady Psycho Killer” is largely carried by the character Ella (and also because of the performance of Kate Daly), the film is a strange, yet fascinating, amalgamation of slashers with TV based teen-drama; a somewhat naive girl is introduced to the world as she tries to discover her own identity while becoming a woman. Now in this day in age, this may sound like pandering from the filmmakers but it’s not at all. It’s a concept that’s giving the movie a unique twist by having the protagonist — who’s also the antagonist — deal with real and not-so-real issues and finds solace through murder.
Nathan and Albert also balance this out through the use of black comedy. The film never makes fun of the idea of this young girl dealing with socials or emotional issues, but rather, finds humor in the absurdity of the fact that she deals with her transformation by eviscerating men. Or as Ella so eloquently stated, “I wanted to rip his dick off and stab him in the eye with it.” And god help me, there’s just something deliriously hilarious about this character almost coming to orgasm as she goes to town on her pedophile neighbor with a pair of hedge clippers.
I’m not trying to compare movies, but “Lady Psycho Killer” reminded me of films like “Psycho Beach Party” and “Serial Mom” by how they handled the mixing of genres with touches humor and sincerity in the lead character. So much so that I can even see “Lady Psycho Killer” finding similar cult success since I think it’s going to play very well with most audiences. There’s something real to Ella — even if she is a psychotic murderer — and what she’s going through but the movie never comes across as ham fisted social commentary. Instead it’s this fantastically entertaining mix of stark humor with gory horror. There’s even a subtle ‘80s influence with the use of a synth score and a primary colored lighting scheme when Ella is carrying out her maniacal deeds. And I think a big reason this quirky little hybrid movie worked was because of the performance from Kate Daly. She not only brings the character to life, but also successfully delivers the film’s humor and horror.