In the realm of horror and slasher films, entertainment is a must, and the genre thrives on delivering just that. The allure of the term ‘slasher’ itself demands deeper scrutiny; originally a tool for woodcutting, in this genre, it transforms into the weapon of choice for a serial killer. The newly released movie, Killer Book Club, adeptly encapsulates the essence of a captivating, meticulously crafted film. Tasked not only with presenting a novel slasher narrative but also ticking the boxes synonymous with this genre, the film embarks on a journey that holds immense promise, albeit somewhat marred by its hurried conclusion.
Director Carlos Alonso-Ojea boldly embraces the challenge from the outset. He refuses to take refuge in the obscure and abstract treatment often associated with slashers. Instead, he dauntlessly pits himself against luminaries like Wes Craven and John Carpenter, a feat requiring a robust storyline with the potential to withstand the ensuing battle. While the narrative adopts a postmodern approach, it admirably favors the film’s cause. The premise centers around eight college students united by a book club, who inadvertently end up killing a professor in a misguided effort to teach him a lesson. Enter a serial killer donned as a clown, systematically eliminating these eight aficionados of horror. To compound the intrigue, with each murder, the killer pens a grisly chapter on a public platform, vividly detailing the slaying.
The film’s inventive premise thrives under the skillful pen of writer Carlos García Miranda. The stakes remain perpetually high, with Angela, a survivor of a near assault by Professor Cruzado, serving as the audience’s conduit into the unfolding enigma. Cruzado’s unsettling release of Angela comes with a sinister caveat: her silence about the attempted rape. Only her book club comrades are privy to this dark secret, leading them to concoct an elaborate plan. Cloaked in the guise of a local prankster sporting a clown mask, they startle Cruzado, inadvertently causing his fatal fall from a height. The book club’s tightly held secret becomes the catalyst for the killer’s vengeance, compelling him to exact punishment upon these ‘book club’ murderers.
In an ingenious narrative twist, the eight friends find themselves transformed into characters within the killer’s online novel, each chapter devoted to a member’s demise. Here, the film’s self-referential essence crescendos. The group is categorized using classic horror archetypes: Angela embodies the ‘heroine,’ her boyfriend Nando the ’emo,’ Sebas the ‘simp,’ Virginia the ‘brat,’ while Rai, Koldo, Sara, and Eva encompass the ‘wild,’ ‘influencer,’ ‘babe,’ and ‘librarian,’ respectively. The story subtly nudges viewers toward identifying the potential survivor, as Angela appears to possess ‘plot armor’ as the heroine. Yet, surprisingly, this revelation doesn’t dampen the excitement. Instead, it transforms the narrative from a ‘whodunit’ to a ‘how will it unfold,’ enhancing audience engagement.
While Killer Book Club boasts a riveting premise and engaging character dynamics, its haste-ridden ending slightly undermines its potential impact. Nonetheless, the film’s audacious approach to the slasher genre, coupled with its inventive storyline and self-awareness, ensures it remains an intriguing watch that caters to both hardcore enthusiasts and casual viewers alike.