It’s like the 1990s all over again with this pair of films, from the 90s Britpop scene of Kill Your Friends to the 70s disco nostalgia of Discopath. But are a retro vibe, loads of pop culture references, and a crazed killer enough?
KILL YOUR FRIENDS (2015)
Imagine if American Psycho were set in the 90s instead of the 80s, had barely any blood or violence, and was boring as fuck, and you’d have this virtual clone. Seriously, I wanted to cry during the hour and 45-minute running time of this painfully bland film with a title that promises a dark horror comedy at the least.
A hot, arrogant A&R guy at a record company really wants a promotion, so he decides he shall kill anyone who gets in his way. But mostly, he makes nasty comments about women, people with HIV, pop stars, etc., discusses his taste in music, name drops dozens of songs and artists from the music scene of the time, has run-ins with numerous musicians and music executives, goes clubbing, has a threesome with a girl and another guy, and has daydreams of losing his shit.
Along the way, our main man, who narrates and sometimes breaks the fourth wall, begins to unravel, but there’s never anything even darkly funny happening here. An hour and twenty-five minutes into the movie, he says that they will all pay. All two of them, one of them being James Corden in a brief appearance. There’s never anything even slightly brutal enough here to satisfy gorehounds.
The soundtrack includes music from Blur, The Prodigy, Oasis, The Chemical Brothers, Primal Scream, Radiohead, Sash!, and other 90s artists, but that doesn’t help. Hey, if a movie about a hot psycho killer working in the music industry can’t keep my interest, well, then I don’t know who Kill Your Friends was meant for. Not even a cameo by Rosanna Arquette in which Madonna’s name comes up could thrill this Desperately Seeking Susan fan.
After the torture of Kill Your Friends, I seriously needed to cleanse my palate. When I was done eating a bag of dark chocolate peanut M&Ms, I watched Discopath.
It’s 1976, and hearing KC & the Sunshine Band’s “I’m Your Boogie Man” triggers something in a young man. Every time he hears disco, he kills someone…which makes his date at a disco a bad idea. The first kill is so awesomely retro, with killer POV, a rip-off of the Halloween II soundtrack, and a chase that ends underneath the glass dance floor.
Here’s the annoying part. This film takes place in Canada, so all of a sudden, the setting switches to a Catholic girls school where everyone speaks French, which means it’s subtitle time. From this point on, the film obnoxiously jumps between English and subtitles—I mean, French (4 years of it in high school and all I know how to say is croissant and déjà vu).
The killer is now pretending to be deaf and mute, and has taken a job as an A/V geek at the school. There’s a pervy priest and a lesbian nun having an affair with a disco chick, plus a couple of lesbian schoolgirls thrown in for good measure. There are also a couple of detectives on the hunt for the killer. For a grindhouse flick about a killer triggered by disco music, Discopath is surprisingly tame.
It’s still kind of entertaining, with some standout moments.
The killer dances around naked with two severed heads, there’s a cool strobe light kill, and the goriest scene in the film features death by pieces of vinyl disco records.
As a bonus, the final chase scene is set to Kiss’s best song EVER – “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.”