Murder Party (2007) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Murder Party (2007)

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Danny LIKESo if yesterday's review of The Hazing was The Breakfast Club getting slaughtered, today's entry has to be the class of Art School Confidential getting its turn. And if you've seen Art School Confidential, you'll definitely be needing that release.

Murder Party is about Chris, a dumb friendless schmuck whose cat won't even get off the chair for him. When he finds an invitation for a Murder Party on Halloween night, he decides to go. It's not like he has anything else to do. He bakes up some pumpkin loaf, makes a knight costume out of cardboard, and heads out the door.

Unfortunately what he walks in on is an artist's collective, high on coke, filled with booze, and eager to use the opportunity of a poor schmuck showing up to begin their party, centered around turning its titular murder into a piece of art.

It's not the best knight costume in the world, but it'll do.

He spends most of the movie tied up while the artists collective tries to determine the best way to eliminate him while also one-upping each other in hopes of earning a grant from the effusive Alexander. The other personalities-- the obsessive drunk, the coke snorting wannabe, the bisexual vampire, and the quiet crazy one-- are an exercise in manic egotism.

The film has an overbearing sense of gloom which plays off of its screwball sensibilities splendidly. The warehouse that encapsulates most of the film is dingy and abandoned, a perfect setting for a horror film. The blood comes out aplenty, but Murder Party is careful to build to it rather than drench the viewer immediately.

It's a measured film, held together by some extremely tight editing. Punchlines are given room to breathe, blood is given room to pool. The camera moves swiftly between performers, and there are a number of tracking shots that create a palpable but kinetic feeling of dread. It's got a great look for a horror film, and looks about as good as any mainstream film you're bound to see, and the pacing is consistently excellent (which I suppose excellent pacing would have to be).

There's plenty of murder to go around at the murder party.

Murder Party is one of my favorite Halloween movies for a lot of reasons besides those above. The film is excellent at subverting what the audience expects whenever possible, from the "acid" that turns out to be vinegar to the chainsaw that keeps running out of extension chord. No one is quite who they seem, and the film plays with the idea of how a person is ultimately 'knowable' and ultimately a mystery, and how that plays both into the hectic dissonance of the art world and the related hectic madness of, you know, calmly and collectively committing a murder.

Murder Party is a dark and delirious tale that enjoys upending expectations at every opportunity. While it won't fulfill anyone's desire for another mindless slasher, it's a witty postmodern deconstruction of artistic needs and bloodthirstiness. It's the perfect antidote to the common horror film.

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Murder Party (2007)

This film is currently available on DVD.

Directed by Jeremy Saulnier
Starring Chris Sharp

Posted by Danny

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