Jeremy Saulnier’s feature film debut may not be as refined or focused as his breakthrough effort but Murder Party still succeeds as a wicked horror-comedy that’s downright crazy, twisted & ludicrous, and in spite of its crude look & amateurish feel, the film manages to provide many good surprises along the way.
The story follows a lonely guy who stumbles across an invitation to a Halloween costume party and, having nothing to do, decides to attend it. But he soon discovers it to be a trap set by a group of deranged art students who intend to kill him as part of their art project in order to impress their patron.
Written, directed & photographed by Jeremy Saulnier (best known for Blue Ruin & Green Room), Murder Party is shot on a shoestring budget yet what it puts on screen not only makes for a refreshing delight but also showcases the director’s knowledge of the genre(s) and his cinematic eye for carving moments that are tense & engaging.
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Complemented by a thrilling score, aptly utilizing its camera to intensify the atmosphere, brilliantly balancing the elements of its genre(s), and certainly not holding back on violence or gore, the plot gets more n more demented as it progresses and completely snaps in the final act, massacring anything & everything in its path.
The characters inhabiting the film are nothing more than a bunch of losers, unworthy of any emotional attachment but it’s the little details about them & their actions that provides the majority of laughs. Performance isn’t the film’s strongest suit but Macon Blair & Chris Sharp are still hilarious in their respective roles.
On an overall scale, Murder Party does manage to live up to its name and is an amusing, ridiculous & farcical indie that’s as absurd as it is entertaining. Splashing the walls with blood & guts when the occasion calls for it yet never losing its humor in the process, Jeremy Saulnier’s debut feature is a riotous ride that isn’t memorable by any means but it’s definitely fun, and can certainly benefit from a broader viewership.