Directed by Olly Blackburn [Other horror films: Donkey Punch (2008)]
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of Kristy before going in, and I’d say that was probably a good thing. There were some elements and stylistic choices I didn’t care for, but honestly, I was overall pretty pleased with this one.
A lot of this has to do with the setting of a virtually empty university campus (as it takes place during Thanksgiving break). There’s a lot of scenes of just expansive buildings and grounds with just a single character in frame, which lent much of the film a great vibe. What also helped was the fog that was prevalent throughout most of the film.
In many ways, I was reminded of The Strangers: Prey at Night, as much of this film is a cat-and-mouse game between Haley Bennett’s character and her mysterious assailants. The only difference is that Kristy doesn’t have the same 80’s nostalgic feel that one does. There were some really suspenseful scenes, from the library sequence, to the gym scenes, and when Bennett’s character really starts fighting back, you have a great character to root for.
Bennett was really good in this. She’s a student with a less-than-perfect life (especially compared to her friends, one of which has rich parents who are vacationing in Aspen, the other who comes from a wealthy family that mocks the fact Bennett has to work while attending school), and seeing this character get beaten down only to fight back once the going really gets tough, it’s rather satisfying.
Bennett’s about the only performance that really matters, on a side-note. The four antagonists are fine, but they’re just basically the same type of silent, mask-wearing antagonist you see in movies like The Strangers and Cabin 28. There’s not much too them, really. Lucas Till’s character was mostly a nonentity, and the other two who really stood out one way or another, in as limited scenes as they had, were James Ransone (Deputy So-and-So from Sinister) and Mathew St. Patrick (who played a friendly and rather enjoyable campus security guard).
The kills were pretty solid past a certain point. A baseball bat with nails strapped on made for a solid scene in which someone’s head didn’t have the best of days. There was a fun sequence in a pool, and another great instance with someone burning to death. Some of the kills were a bit more generic, but the main ones were all on point.
A few problems did arise, though. I don’t personally think that loud music needs to accompany every scare the film has. There were plenty of scenes that would have been just a creepy, if not more so, in a subtle way, if they had just laid off the music. If a scene is legitimately creepy, the music isn’t necessary because the jump will come naturally.
Also, I didn’t love the story behind the antagonists. This is literally one of the first things we see, so it’s not a spoiler, but having an online cult going after girls they deem ‘perfect’ (without actually studying their subjects to see if they fit) just felt a bit shallow. The ending, which dealt with some of the aftermath of the events of the film, was sort of interesting, but at the same time, the dark web cult of serial killers just turned me off.
Speaking of being turned off, the post-credits scene was extraordinarily unnecessary. It seemed to imply that the cult still had some cells, which wasn’t something that really came as a surprise, and ultimately didn’t really seem all that worth tacking onto the ending.
Despite my problems, I think Kristy is a movie that has a lot going for it. I really enjoyed much of it’s style, and the kills that really mattered were great. There are many just plain satisfying scenes with Bennett’s character fighting back, and I think this was was pretty enjoyable overall. Definitely one that I’d recommend, and certainly one that I’d watch again.