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It begins with a bloodbath. A hunter, whose hunting dog discovers a strange golden artifact in the woods–that seems to take possession of the man as his eyes go black–commits to shooting his family and then hacking away at his neighbors with a meat cleaver before he is shot, only to seemingly pass whatever took hold of him to another, and then another as the cycle continues.
Meanwhile, in a town not far away, Jebediah Woodley (Dolph Lundgren) is having a drink at a bar where a local yokel is harassing a pretty young girl. He takes to teaching the boy a lesson and for his efforts, gets a night with the lady. Next morning, he learns of the horrific murders, hearing something familiar in the method. He tells FBI agent Evelyn Pierce (Kristina Klebe) what he knows, that he’s a demon hunter and that what’s happening here has happened before.
While he’s seen plenty of demons before, this one is a particular piece of nasty, one that can’t die, as it constantly moves from whomever ‘kills’ it to the next. Convincing Pierce he’s legit, the two take to hunting down a beast that by definition is impossible to stop.
Directed by Mike Mendez, Don’t Kill It is a B-grade monster movie that embraces its roots with a certain blissfulness, reveling in its excesses while it clings to the tropes that define the genre, somehow making it work in a comically, gory way. Written by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, there’s no attempt at logic, the story diving head first into the premise with everyone on board from the start, which probably serves it best. If you’re going to have a story about black-eyed demons and blood-line angels in eternal conflict with a fedora-wearing, net-gun toting middle-aged muscle-man smart-alecing his way through a bloodbath of Tarentino-esque levels of violence, you might as well have fun with it.
That mostly lands on Lundgren’s broad shoulders who finds the right tone from the start, clearly understanding what this is all about. He straps on every cliché he can muster and dives into this with gleeful abandon, genuinely earning laughs amid the horrific albeit hardly believable carnage. From a disbelieving, cantankerous priest to inept local sheriffs to screaming demons, there’s a lot here that is tried and true, but Mendez, tongue firmly in cheek, manages to keep things brisk and surprisingly sharp, despite some lapses.
But no matter the low-budget effects, that actually do it justice, and some one-dimensional characters, there’s no denying just how entertaining Don’t Kill It really is. Outrageous comical gore, a terrific little story, and a dead-on center lead character absolutely primed for a franchise, this is an indie horror gem.
Movie description: Don't Kill It is a 2017 horror/thriller about an ancient demon who comes to terrorize a small town and the only man who can stop it.
Director(s): Mike Mendez
Actor(s): Dolph Lundgren, Kristina Klebe, Elissa Dowling
Genre: Horror, Thriller