No genre of movie is more known for such wild variations in quality than horror, and inside of that perhaps no subgenre is than the slasher. For every Scream there are a dozen Halloween: Resurrection‘s. Despite that, they reliably draw in audiences and consistently turn a profit. It’s no wonder then that Spanish director Carlos Alonso Ojea and writer Carlos García Miranda decided to take a stab at making their own, resulting in the derivative but competent Killer Book Club.
College student Ángela (Veki Velilla) is sexually assaulted by a professor, who demands she keep the incident a secret. Of course, she winds up telling her friends, all of whom are in a horror-themed book club. Despite her protestations, the group decide to pull a prank on the teacher for revenge which, as anyone who’s ever seen one of these movies before could predict, goes terribly wrong resulting in his death and the friends’ decision to act like they know nothing about the incident. Equally predictable is the development that someone saw what happened and is now sending them threatening notes in the form of chapters of a book, each of which tells of one member of the group being murdered, coinciding with their death in real life. They’ll have to figure out who the writer is if they hope to survive, and of course, everyone is a suspect.
The attractive cast all do decent jobs with what they’re given, but there is virtually no characterization assigned to anyone. Even some of the usual cliches would have been appreciated. Ojea’s direction is fine, and he does adequately build up suspense when needed and adeptly handles the bloody death sequences. Most of the blame for the movie’s mediocrity falls squarely on the lap of screenwriter Miranda, who makes some baffling plot choices leading to a conclusion that feels so rushed that character deaths start happening off camera and seemingly out of nowhere. The killer’s reveal at the end is saved from predictability by a genuinely surprising twist, but it requires some leaps of logic when thought about for more than a moment. The equally illogical final scene seems to set up a sequel, but I don’t foresee anyone asking for another chapter. ★★
rated tv-ma. contains strong bloody violence, nudity, sexual content, strong language, thematic material, and smoking.
★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor