Directed by Jem Garrard [Other horror films: N/A]
Back in 2012, Syfy had an original movie called Haunted High (which was later retitled Ghostquake, because that’s so much better), and it was terrible. I mean, in some ways, it was okay, but the point is, it wasn’t a great time. So when I marked this to record to my DVR, given this is also a Syfy original, I was expecting something much in the same vein.
However, surprisingly, I had a really good time with this.
I didn’t know that it’d be a horror-comedy when I started watching this, and if I had, I’d have probably gone in with even lower expectations, but the humor here was actually pretty good (and in fact, the “rabid Snuffleupagus” line had me cracking up so much, I had to pause the movie), and I found myself laughing plenty of times. The freeze-frames were probably used once too often, but for the most part, this was a movie that knew what it was doing, and I think it showed in the script (“I don’t need your help. I have God to protect me,” followed up by, “Oh, that’s a really bad choice,” was an exchange that caused more laughter).
What really helps is that the main character, played by Kacey Rohl, is one of those annoying, overachieving types who was in every high school organization possible, and she’s in charge of the ten-year high school reunion. Rohl’s character easily could have been unlikable (and she had her moments), but it turns out that she didn’t go to college – she stayed in her dying town (and I do mean dying – the town doesn’t even have a police station) to care for her sick mother, and all she has to really look back on was her success in high school while everyone else is succeeding around her, such as her old rival, played by Humberly González, who has been around the world.
Really, this is a movie with more feeling than you’d expect. Make no mistake, most of it’s a silly monster movie with a giant warthog goring people, if it’s not eating people, that is, but there’s still some emotion, such as the tender moments between Asha Bromfield and Varun Saranga (Neverknock), or the scene in which everyone’s favorite teacher, played by Linda Goranson, comes to the reunion in a wheelchair after suffering a stroke. There are nice moments here, which is good to see, especially as I have absolutely no plans to attend my ten-year reunion. Though if a killer warthog were on the loose, I might reconsider.
Kacey Rohl is a name I don’t know, but she just did fantastic. I can’t really fault her character for being petty to high school rivals, because that’s really all she has – for ten years, she’s been in a dying town, dreaming of planning the perfect reunion, and this happens. I’ll admit I never loved González’s character, but she did grow on me. Both Bromfield and Saranga were good (especially Saranga), and I wish they had a happier ending then what they did. Jonathan Langdon mostly fell flat for me, but he did have that hilarious Snuffleupagus line, so points for that.
Killer High isn’t a particularly gory movie (though the aftermath of the main slaughter was pretty nice), nor did it boast the best effects (the warthog was pretty simple, but it had it’s charm to it), but it was a surprisingly fun ride, with occasionally moving moments and an interesting story to it’s killer warthog. It was a fun movie, and definitely one I’d give another go. It over-uses a few elements, and the finale isn’t quite that strong, but it’s a surprisingly strong film.
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