Director: Andy Thompson
Script: Andy Thompson, Pete benson, Tim Mayor
Cast: Marc Pickering, Susannah Fielding, Joe Tracini, David Easter, Keith Chegwin
Running time: 93 minutes
Year: 2011
Certificate: 15

It really says something about a film when the best things in it are Keith Chegwin and a glove puppet! Now, I’ve nothing against Keith - I think he’s an entertaining television personality who never really left children’s TV behind - but I didn’t really expect that he’d be the best thing about this film. Now I know he can sort of act – I recently saw him in a pantomime in Swindon of all places – but I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at his level of commitment to this role, where he kind of plays a darker version of himself. However, he’s one of the few factors that partly redeem this film.

I kind of sensed that this film might be bad, but I was hoping for a ‘so bad it’s good’ kind of vibe or maybe even that rarest of things: a commercial British film that doesn’t suck big time.

The creators of Kill Keith were obviously trying for an instant cult film that wins select audiences on to its side through its quirkiness and mad-cap japes, but instead it’s more the pot noodle variety of film – it must have seemed a good idea at the time, but all the consumer is left with at the end is a sense of disappointment replete with a side order of stomach ache!

Ok, before you think I’m being overly unfair here let me explain to you, my gentle reader, why this film, in my humble opinion, is so bad.

For a start the script is dreadful and very short on laughs for something which calls itself a horror-comedy – in fact I counted seven funny gags in the whole film, which to be fair is better than some modern sit-coms. And, although it touts itself as a horror film, it has very little in it that’s horrific, unless you are referring to the standard of acting, which is almost uniformly poor. Apart from Keith, Susannah Fielding acquits herself reasonably well as the love interest and the actress who plays a programme producer isn’t too bad either. The rest of the cast must have all been having a bad day if the final cut is anything to go by. And, special award for worst performance must go to Marc Pickering, who seemed to have two expressions throughout – bemused or slightly shocked. Apparently he was in Sleepy Hollow – what, as a tree?

And it’s not only the script and the acting that lets the film down, but some of the technical aspects are really poor too. For example, the sound and images are frequently not synched up so at times it comes across like a badly dubbed kung-fu film, only much less engaging. In a couple of scenes, where items are dropped, we hear the sound of the item hitting the floor a good second after it actually does! Did no one notice this in post-production? There are also continuity issues including a scene where our hero retrieves his glove puppet from behind the presenter’s studio sofa, when, in an earlier scene, we saw it being thrown at him by an angry presenter in his office. This later retrieval was referencing an even earlier scene where our lead saves the day using a found glove puppet – actually a genuinely funny scene. All these elements lead one to feel that the filmmakers have been really sloppy, which is a great shame since, judging by the end credits, a lot of probably normally talented people were involved in the making of this film.

Kill Keith’s strap line is ‘Saw meets Richard and Judy’, which makes it sounds like it could be great fun, but sadly it isn’t. To be honest there are a few inspired moments, the opening music track is pretty cool, in a Bond-like way, and some of our hero’s day dreaming sequences look like someone who perhaps, has a bit of imagination, shot them. At least they weren’t as predictable as the main plot line, which revolves around a series of disappearances and killings centred on an early morning chat and news show. As the killings continue it soon becomes apparent that someone wants most of the people involved with the show eliminated. It becomes clear, fairly early on, who’s actually doing the killings.

I think the person playing the murderer obviously had a ball with their mad and bad role. In fact I’d quite like to see them explore their dark side in another film, as it could be quite interesting to see where they might go with it if they were able to play a more serious ‘sicko’ part. The filmmakers also fairly enjoyably reference a couple of scenes from Halloween and The Silence of the Lambs, which made me smile.

Overall then, the only reason this film didn’t score nil points in my book was because of good old national treasure Keith Chegwin; oh and the glove puppet! Hence I think the title of the film should be changed to ‘Save Keith’.

Reviewer: Justin Richards

Kill Keith is being unleashed on the unsuspecting general population on the 26th March by distributors Metrodome. Be very afraid!

The extras on the disc I reviewed included a trailer, which makes the film almost look appealing, a short and sweet set of soundbite type interviews with various minor celebrities explaining how they would kill Keith – I liked Joe Pasquale’s answer, which nicely references his own role in the film – and a behind the scenes featurette.

This last extra is the most substantial, although I didn’t find it particularly enlightening. Beginning with pretty much the whole crew introducing themselves the featurette then briefly shows what happened on certain days of the shoot including the exploding pumpkin scene, a fire-fight sequence – concentrating on the lighting – and an S & M themed dream sequence; All a bit random! I think the two most disturbing things about watching this documentary, for me, was realising it was shot at Pinewood studios, so obviously had a budget of sorts with lots of capable crew and technicians to hand, and the fact that one person suggests that there might be a Kill Keith 2: Electric Boogaloo – I shudder at the thought…

About The Author

Justin Richards is a journalist by day and a scriptwriter by night. His work has appeared in the darker recesses of the internet and in various niche publications including ITNOW, The Darkside, Is it Uncut?, Impact and Deranged. When he’s not sitting hunched over a sticky, crumb-laden keyboard he’s paying good money to have people in pyjamas try and kick him repeatedly in the face.

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