Friday 5 October 2012

"Some Guy Who Kills People" (Moviemail 05/10/12)

Kevin Corrigan is one of those actors who’ve worked consistently over the past two decades – usually in scuzzy antagonist parts: you’ll recognise the downturned, generally unshaven face from True Romance, Living in Oblivion and The Departed – without ever quite landing a breakthrough role. (You’d have had to stay up past midnight to have seen his one flirtation with the mainstream, playing sleazy Uncle Eddie on the sly sitcom Grounded for Life, when that show went out on ITV at the start of the Noughties.) The low-budget black comedy Some Guy Who Kills People, which shuffles off to DVD a mere ten days after its cinema release, is probably as close as Corrigan is ever going to get to a star vehicle, and in his own shrugging, self-effacing way, he makes something quietly diverting of the occasion.

He’s playing Ken, a sometime mental patient now eking out a low-ranking existence as a counterman at an ice cream parlour in a nondescript town where bullying and casual cruelties are an accepted daily occurrence. Ken takes most of these low-blows and jibes on the chin, instead trying to connect with a potential love interest (Lucy Davis, a long way from The Office) and reconnect with Amy (Ariel Gade), the young daughter left behind when he was institutionalised. It’s a clear bid for reintegration, made at almost exactly the wrong moment, for an eye-catching number of corpses – those of Ken’s former high-school tormentors, offed in gruesome fashion – are just beginning to pile up in the town morgue.

Given that director Jack Perez’s previous credit was the attention-seeking Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, the new film proves an oddly tranquilised proposition; it shambles listlessly through its kill scenes, and barely bothers to set up a secondary suspect, making the final reveal something of a half-hearted afterthought. The chief concern of Ryan A. Levin’s script lies elsewhere, in more surprising and involving territory: watching a man with an extremely chequered past attempting to live the “normal” life expected of him. For stretches here, practically the sole movement on screen is the twitching of Corrigan’s face as Ken tries to pull himself together and corral his damaged psyche, in his new guise of inexperienced family guy.

The film isn’t funny or bloody enough to earn the cult status it clearly aspires to – one recurring trait of Perez’s early filmography: movies that can’t live up to their titles – but it retains a dogged, low-key charm, while allowing this director to attempt something more character-driven than brawling creature features. The always-welcome Karen Black and Barry Bostwick give good value dishevelment as Ken’s mom and the sheriff who’s after her (and, for different reasons, her son), and Corrigan works out a nicely tentative, even surprisingly touching chemistry with the bright, sparky Gade. If Some Guy Who Kills People helps viewers and casting directors put a name to its leading man’s face, it’ll all have been worthwhile.

Some Guy Who Kills People opens in selected cinemas from today, ahead of its DVD release on October 15.

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