Killing Brooke Review

by Chris Conway


In the short time I have been writing for, I have had an eye-opening revelation.  Horror, more than any other genre of film, inspires its fans to want to be part of the movement to such an extent that many will go as far as to spend thousands of personal dollars and hours to create a work to be added to the collective cannon.

It is for this reason that I feel compelled to “grade on a curve”, so to speak , when reviewing a film such as Killing Brooke. Not because I feel bad for director, David Zagorski, but because I respect his efforts.

With little deviation from the formula of your ‘run of the mill’ Survival Horror film made popular outside of the studio system in the 1970’s and 80’s, Killing Brooke brings little new to the dance in plot or theme.

The story opens with a single camera, unedited shot of two bloodied women fighting outside of a farmhouse.  One of the women is over-powered by the other and dragged back into the house. We fade to black and return to meet Brooke and Chloe exchanging nuptials under a gazebo.  We learn here that the setting is Massachusetts (one of the first states to legalize same-sex marriage).  While celebrating in a roadhouse later that night, the newlyweds hookup with a drifter named Vance- who early on we already know is a killer. The more open and promiscuous Brooke invites him back to the room for a night of three-way drunken sex.  Predictably the next day brings the realization of Vance’s true colors.  This leads to a chase sending Brooke right from the frying pan into the fire in the form of a family of Cretans named the Spades who live on an isolated farm.  It is from here that pretty much every move from B-movie torture playbook is pulled out and used to its fullest extent. From here on, the film deteriorates into a bastardized mix of Texas Chainsaw Massacre (any and all of them), Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave.

The acting among the cast evens out to passable with some better than others and no one stand out performance. (The next Matthew McConaughey or Rene Zellweger a la Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation are not to be found here.)  I fully recognize as a director of such a film, you need to play the hand you’re dealt, and compensation for the cast is based on what pizza place has the best deal going at the time. Having said that, the Spade family all inexplicably sport thick, deep southern accents in spite of the fact they live in New England.

While my review of this movie is lukewarm at best, there are some bright parts that deserve mentioning. The choice of locations – particularly the dirt roads and farmhouse – lend an atmospheric touch to the overall starkness and brutality of the film.  Given the limited budget, the effects are good with special note going to the use of bleach in the shower…you’ll see.  Killing Brooke was shot using a Canon EOS 7D giving the “film” the appropriately gritty feel of a 35mm drive-in feature.

While it is my job as a journalist to be objective, I feel both the film makers and I are on the same team in the respect that we care enough about the horror genre to promote it, challenge it and continue to grow it!  To that end, I am very interested to see what David Zagorski and MAD-Z Productions have in store for us next.

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