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Anything goes in Trent Haaga‘s 68 Kill, a maniacal and chaotic thriller that goes for the jugular, leaving a path of wanton destruction in this amped-up rush of a movie that is as dark as it is twisted. There are no rules and the movie goes to extremes to be as macabre as it can be while keeping its off-kilter craziness running on overdrive.
As messed up girlfriends go, few have anything on Liza (AnnaLynne McCord), a beautiful but extremely damaged young woman dating Chip (Matthew Gray Gubler), a wildly naive young man who works as a septic tank cleaner (the symbolism heavy-handed on the state of his life). He can’t believe he’s got a girl as good looking as Liza but is still trying to absorb her penchant for rough stuff in bed (what’s a good punch in the face between lovers?) but more so for her habit of sexing clients on the side as a stripper, including the landlord to get out of paying rent. When she comes home one day packing guns and a plan to rob that landlord of $68,000 stuffed in his safe, he follows along like a puppy, and what follows is a nightmare as Liza proves she is far, far darker than he’d ever imagined.
Written and directed by Haaga, 68 Kill isn’t much interested in subtlety and is ultimately the better for it, a grindhouse film with a ebony-black comedic sensibility. It takes poor Chip on an odyssey of sorts as he tries to keep up with the powerful women in his life. Liza is a timebomb, a controlling, manipulative sociopath with nary a bone of sympathy in her. Then there’s Violet (Alisha Boe), another beautiful young woman he rescues from certain death at the hands of Liza’s creepy brother (Sam Eidson). She’s a handful herself but not like Liza, but because she’s got a pretty face, he’s putty in her hands. That’s a pattern even Chip comes to recognize. Then there’s Monica (Sheila Vand), a goth gas store attendant who is a whole mess of horror.
Haaga somehow stitches together a crude and explicit story that likes to linger on the line of good taste without ever crossing it and avoids many of the tropes the genre survives by, though has plenty of graphic gore. Instead, it plays out like a harrowing amusement park ride with nothing we haven’t seen before in terms of violence or sex but is unique in how it shows it all off. Calling itself a punk rock After Hours, the classic Martin Scorsese film, 68 Kill is definitely a more gruesome tale though the parallels are there. The journeys of both men in these stories are shaped by the emasculating women they meet and while Scorsese’s 80s yuppie nightmare film was more about the absurd comedic angles of such, Haaga’s is a contemporary work that may not have as much to say by way of social commentary, but may provide a satisfying experience for fans of the genre.
68 Kill is an interesting twist of a movie, no doubt one that would be a different story altogether if the genders were reversed. There are no heroes here and we never really feel inclined to stick with Chip, his spinelessness and awareness of such never enough to really make him all that compelling. Still, the women are the thing, with all three delivering big, and for the sheer ballsiness of it all, this is one to watch.
Movie description: 68 Kill is a 2017 crime thriller about a young man who finds himself in a nightmare when he makes the wrong choice with his girlfriend.
Director(s): Trent Haaga
Actor(s): Matthew Gray Gubler, AnnaLynne McCord, Alisha Boe
Genre: Crime, Drama