Murder Party

"Excellent"

Murder Party Review


While watching Murder Party you can just imagine Jeremy Saulnier chuckling to himself while writing the script, and you can't help but chuckle along. It's the pretentiousness of a lot of independent movies that makes them so bad. And it's Saulnier's humble, self-deprecating charm that makes this satiric Halloween movie so hilariously good.

Speaking of self-deprecating, the movie's "hero" is kind of an endearing loser. Imagine if Jon Arbuckle were a parking enforcement officer living in Brooklyn. That's the best way to describe Chris (Chris Sharp), who's such a pushover he can't even get his cat to get off his chair. Like Arbuckle, Chris is a loner; he's so lonesome, in fact, that when he finds a random "murder party" invitation, he looks up directions, slaps together a costume, and shows up right on time -- at a shady looking warehouse.

Little does he know this isn't an ordinary Halloween party. This is literally a party for his murder. The party hosts knock him out and tie him to a chair. Apparently this is a collective of art students whose project is to videotape a murder. They're eagerly trying to impress a rich man named Alexander, who promises the collective a large grant once he's thoroughly wowed.

With a premise as silly as this one, Saulnier delivers a surprisingly sharp and witty script. And as over-the-top as the movie gets, there's an element of realism in the dialogue -- a sheer frustration over the uncertainty of the future and the constant need to impress someone, which many art students can relate with. (It's no wonder: In an interview, Saulnier admits much of the script is based on his own pent-up frustration from years of trying to break into the movie biz.)

The beauty of a good independent film is the raw innocence of every element. There's a very quirky, self-needling, tongue-in-cheek humor running through Party -- which probably wouldn't make it past major studios. Most of the actors use their real names in the movie, and they're so natural they feel organic, presumably because they can identify with their characters (i.e., struggling artists) so easily. Saulnier's passion for '80s films clearly inspires the costumes, which give a nod to Blade Runner and The Warriors. In short, Party is an inside joke that somehow everybody gets.

Whether or not Saulnier has wowed whomever Alexander represents in the film industry, he's at least managed to entertain his viewers, winning two audience awards and other festival recognitions. Party is a rare gem that glistened in theaters very briefly before it went straight to DVD. Hopefully the director has more for us soon.

Pris would tell you: Time to die.



Murder Party

Facts and Figures

Run time: 79 mins

In Theaters: Monday 1st January 2007

Production compaines: The Lab Of Madness

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Producer: Skei Saulnier, Chris Sharp

Starring: Alex Barnett as Alexander, Paul Goldblatt as Paul, as Macon, Stacy Rock as Lexi, Bill Tangradi as Zycho, Chris Sharp as Christopher S. Hawley, William Lacey as Bill, Skei Saulnier as Sky

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