Reality Kills (2002)

Reality Kills (2002)

They’re dying to be on TV

A group of people starring in a new reality TV show gather in a deserted house which was home to a mass murder years ago. However shortly after arriving, the murders begin again, with the contestants disappearing one-by-one. Without knowing who to trust, the contestants soon begin blaming each other in a desperate bid to win the $100,000 cash prize.

 

I have a suggestion – just leave! If I saw that other contestants were going missing, I surely wouldn’t want to wait around until my number was up even if there was a significant cash prize on offer. But then little details are never the greatest worry of low budget shockers like Reality Kills, whose primary goal is to make a quick, simple slasher film to fill up some bottom shelf space in a video store somewhere.

Reality Kills wasn’t the first to do the reality TV slasher flick formula and it certainly won’t be the last either. Released in the same year as two high profile reality TV-themed horrors in Halloween: Resurrection and My Little Eye, Reality Kills was clearly made to cash-in on a momentary fad. I absolutely loathe the vast majority of reality TV shows, making ‘celebrities’ out of idiots who should be denied oxygen rather than given large amounts of free publicity. The UK media is the worst for ‘celebritising’ some of the most moronic, unintellectual, bottom-feeding wastes of human space as thousands of copycats and wannabes suddenly realise that by going on TV, saying or doing some stupid things in front of millions of people, will give them their fifteen minutes of fame. Anyway rant enough over! Reality TV hit its peak around this time and though the likes of X-Factor and various international versions of ‘… Got Talent‘ still do the rounds, the obsession with knowing what Z-rate celebrities are doing in a remote house has definitely waned.

Realty Kills already comes off feeling dated in its dependence on the reality TV show format. Despite this sub-genre being short-lived, the clichés were already rolling thick and fast and this never really manages to overcome any of them, pandering to the usual genre tropes to keep the film moving. There’s the obligatory individual monologues to the camera at various points in the film (you know where they talk directly to the camera on Big Brother and the like) which are designed to build character but are terribly written. There’s the inevitable ‘deaths caught on camera’ scenes where the other characters re-watch footage to find the killer doing his thing. There’s also the sense that the characters know that ‘death = ratings’ and staying in the house despite what is going on will make them even more famous.

The contestants are a wholly unlikeable bunch who, after literally just meeting, are already verbally tearing chunks out of each other. The ‘diverse’ nature of the group means you’ll get one of each major stereotyped character including the innocent virginal girl, a politically incorrect redneck (which is a politically incorrect term too!), the black ‘gangsta’ producer, the diva and more. It’s lazy writing because all of the hard work has been done for us in developing their characters – as soon as the redneck opens his mouth we know he’ll be hostile towards the ethnic minority characters, the diva will throw a strop because she wants to be the star, etc. The quicker the majority of them are killed off, the better the film will be.

Post-Scream and every low budget slasher film had to feature a killer in a black robe and a white mask. Reality Kills is no exception. The kills are weak and a little overly complicated too. The killer subdues their victim with a Taser first of all and then gets out a hypodermic needle with something nasty inside to finish the job. It’s the same routine over and over again with no variation. There’s little blood on offer though the body count is quite filled out to keep things ticking along nicely. Those with a keen eye will figure out who the killer is early on, if you discount the physical impossibilities of the first two kills. There’s hardly any suspense in the kill scenes and the film throws in a couple of cheap boo moments throughout but nothing that will really get the heart racing.

 

Reality Kills is cheap, bargain basement horror designed to capitalise on a mini-fad that went nowhere. It’s dull, barely passable at the best of times and will be instantly forgotten after the end credits finish.

 

 ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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