Killers Anonymous Review
Killers Anonymous follows an Alcoholics Anonymous style support group for killers as they discuss their murderous instincts; an intriguing premise. But considering the uninspiring script and nonsensical plot, perhaps the film should have remained anonymous itself.
Martin Owen’s (Let’s Be Evil), latest crime thriller flick, Killers Anonymous, focusses on a group of people who meet to share and mull over their desire to kill. The film stars Gary Oldman and Jessica Alba (who only appear for 10 minutes at most), as well as Tommy Flanagan, MyAnna Buring, Rhyon Nicole Brown, Michael Socha, Tim McInnerny, Elliot James Langridge and Elizabeth Morris, whose characters form together to make the Killers Anonymous group.
We meet the gang as they congregate in a church basement for a Killers Anonymous session. ‘The Man’ (Oldman), a hitman who seems to act as some sort of sponsor for confessed killers, watches the proceedings from afar through binoculars. The meeting is chaired by Joanna (Buring) and each member is encouraged to share the story of their ‘first kill’ or ‘most memorable’ kill to the rest of the group. On this occasion, no one knows who has called the session and the arrival of new member Alice (Brown), results in additional unease. The news of the assassination of a potential U.S. presidential candidate and senator (Sam Hezeldine) also increases suspicion amongst the group and as the film progresses, the killers become more and more hostile.
The idea of Killers Anonymous is interesting and in a world where people seem to be fascinated with the psychology of murderers, watching a therapy session for killers sounds like it would be entertaining at the very least. Unfortunately, there is very little to be excited about here and this is largely down to the dull script and uninventive storyline, both of which deteriorate further as the film progresses. However, the fact that the majority of the film takes place in one room and primarily centres on the discussions within the support group, is not the main issue with it. There have been many engaging movies which have executed this structure well, such as The Breakfast Club, The Hateful Eight and 12 Angry Men just to name a few but sadly, Killers Anonymous did not provide enough exciting, clever or interesting dialogue to make this format work.
Although the marketing campaign for it was almost non-existent, one of the main hooks of the movie was the peculiar idea of having a support group for killers and the stories that would no doubt emerge from these discussions. Despite this, the backstories of all the characters are particularly dull and clichéd. For example, we meet Calvin (McInnerny), a doctor who likes to ‘watch his patients die’, and Ben (Langridge), an upper-class man who discovered his love of killing while hunting as a child. There is nothing new or intriguing about the characters or their stories and there isn’t enough development to grow to care about any of them either. While it is obvious the actors are giving it their all, the weaknesses in the script and plot make it difficult to stay engaged with what is going on.
Most of the interactions between these characters feel over-the-top and awkward, and although some of these scenes are amusing at times, it is difficult to know whether they are meant to be comical or not. There are several strange outbursts from certain characters which are quickly forgotten and followed by a series of serious discussions which leave sequences feeling disjointed and confused. Some may argue that this is the type of behaviour to expect from a group of killers, but there’s no flow, resulting in the entire film coming across as rushed and jumpy.
Killers Anonymous isn’t a complete disaster. The cinematography provides some interesting sequences and the use of lighting and colour visually pleasing. Performances from the entire cast are strong at times and there’s an element of mystery which should keep viewers watching until the end. Unfortunately, all the action is packed into the last 10 minutes with the film finishing abruptly, leaving the audience with more questions than answers.
Killers Anonymous will be in UK Cinemas from 27th August and on Digital Download + DVD & Blu-ray from 26th August.