Millennial Killer 2020 is an unpleasant throwback to grindhouse films and serves as an important reminder of why the subgenre gets a bad rep, says KATE INGLEBY-PARYLO
TITLE: Millennial Killer
YEAR RELEASE: 2020
DIRECTOR: Sam Mason-Bell
CAST: Alice Mulholland, Simon Berry, Rishky Patel
Review of Millennial Killer
Whilst looking to step onto the property ladder, a tumultuous couple, Naomi and Daniel, fall victim to the serial killing Estate Agent. Armed with a hatred of millennials, the Estate Agent will stop at nothing to protect the world from the horrors of the younger generation.
From independent British filmmaker Sam Mason-Bell, Millennial Killer is an unpleasant throwback to grindhouse films and serves as an important reminder of why the subgenre gets a bad rep. Like Lonely Hearts 2019 (also from the mind of Sam Mason-Bell), Millennial Killer was screened at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival.
Over the years, the festival has gained notoriety and is quickly becoming a popular hub of low-budget British horror. Unfortunately, Millennial Killer is more than a step down from the charming, but misguided Lonely Hearts. Where Lonely Hearts was structurally challenged, but inoffensive, Millennial Killer seems purposely aggravating but not for the reasons it thinks it is. It isn’t the Daily Mail reading Real Estate Agent which is offensive, but the dreadful quality of the film itself.
The film follows the Estate Agent as he lures and kills potential house buyers. The first couple of deaths are entertaining, but as the film continues the repetition makes it a chore to finish. The film goes from death, phone call, death, phone call, an unbearable number of times. Whilst some of the deaths are interesting to watch with some decent special effects, nearly every character acts like an abandoned sim when threatened.
We must endure each viewing of the house until the Estate Agent can lure his victims into a particular room. Once in the room, every victim seems to lose the ability to run away before being hit by the Estate Agent. No attempt is made by the victims to escape; they all freeze for a number of seconds before being incapacitated.
One of the only good aspects of Millennial Killer is the characterisation of the serial killing Estate Agent. The Estate Agent is genuinely creepy and unnerving, this is further amplified by the combination of lighting choice and first-person POV shots. Often these shots consist of the Estate Agent staring directly into the camera. Whilst the acting across the film is consistently terrible, Simon Berry, who plays the Estate Agent, gives a great performance.
The motivation behind the Estate Agent also gives the killer a memorable edge in comparison to other film serial killers. Sam Mason-Bell has commented that the Estate Agent is supposed to be a nod to the Daily Mail and a creation of the right-wing media. In this sense, Millennial Killer almost steps into the territory of hoodie horror with the inclusion of the youths being the real predators as perpetuated by the right-wing media. Unfortunately, whilst the lore behind the Estate Agent, and his motivations might be interesting, the film itself lacks any competency to make it entertaining or bearable to watch.
The sound design is shaky as often the dialogue sounds tinny and some of the sound effects seem to either be missing or overly loud or quiet. The film also has frequent parts where the sound has been muted and overlaid with music. This gives off a very amateurish feel and I can’t help but guess that the sound during these parts was so bad that they had to replace it with music. Even though the film is only just over 70 minutes long, there are frequent moments of uncut dead air.
These often include an additional few minutes or seconds of the camera holding onto someone’s face or watching someone walk from one end of the street to the other. Whilst this might have been a stylistic choice, it is completely unnecessary and had me constantly questioning if this film even had an editor.
Whilst in Lonely Hearts Alice Mulholland gave a decent performance, her performance as Naomi is much weaker. The combination of her poor performance, the exposition-heavy and often stunted dialogue with the long, drawn-out takes, makes the majority of the scenes unbearable to get through as she is prominently featured. Whilst I am focusing on Mulholland, I imagine this would be the case with most of the other actors if they had lived longer, as they are equally as bad.
Millennial Killer is tiresome to watch even for the most dedicated grindhouse fans. The acting is terrible and is only made worse by the awful dialogue and aimless plot. The film is constantly dragged down by never-ending shots that seem designed to waste time.
Whilst the Estate Agent is an interesting killer, and some of the experimental shots are intriguing, there just isn’t enough here to make this film worth the runtime. If you must subject yourself to this, it is currently available to watch for free on YouTube via the Stash TV YouTube channel. I only ask that you do so as far away from me as possible.
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