Murder Party is an independent film that was produced on a “micro-budget”. It is a combination horror movie/dark comedy. It has no major stars, no fancy special effects and was filmed in a warehouse in Brooklyn. It is terrific. The plot is great and the acting superb.
The main character (excellently played by Chris Sharp) is a lonely guy whose boring job is to write parking tickets all day long. He lives alone in a tiny apartment with his cat. When he picks up a piece of trash on the street he finds it is a invitation that Halloween night to a “Murder Party.” Excited at being able to go to a Halloween party, he dresses up as a knight in a costume he makes out of cardboard. He is so happy he even bakes a raisin cake to give to the hosts of the party.
However, when he arrives, he discovers that the party is exactly what the invitation says. The hosts are a group of artists who are planning on murdering him and filming it in the name of art. One of them notes that “The invitation said ‘murder party’ on it. We didn’t think anyone would be stupid enough to show up.”
The poor Cardboard Knight is captured and tied up, and the artists argue about exactly what form of death would be the most artistic. This is where the “dark comedy” part of the film comes into play. The “artists” have no feeling whatsoever for the man they are about to kill, but they do have feeling for each other. The vehemently hate each other.
Apparently there is a $3,000 grant at stake for the best artist, and each of them is willing to do anything to prove they are better than the others.
As the audience, we really sympathize with the Cardboard Knight. The film’s director (Jeremy Saulnier) has used the “average guy” technique that Hitchcock used in mystery and horror films. (This was, in fact, Jeremy Saulnier’s directing debut.) The Cardboard Knight is an average guy who is suddenly thrown into a bizarre set of circumstances with strange and dangerous people. We desperately want this poor guy to survive.
The Cardboard Knight’s first chance comes when one of the artists eats the cake he brought and it turns out she is deathly allergic to raisins. Chaos ensures giving the Knight his chance.
We will not give away any more of the plot other than to say it gets more and more bizarre and violent. The film is gory and bloody, in the true style of all horror movies that take place on Halloween night.
The best part of the film is the way the artists are portrayed as pretentious self-centered idiots. In the New York artistic community there are certainly a number of very talented and creative people. However for each person like that there are at least ten no-talent hacks who pompously call themselves “artists”. The people at this party are those people, but with chainsaws and machetes.
We especially liked Stacey Rock (who dressed as the Daryl Hanna character from the movie Blade Runner.) She is crazy and violent, and never misses an opportunity to point out what bad artists the others are compared to her. An interesting point is that we never actually see any of their artwork. There is also real question about whether of not the artistic grant money actually exists.
Independent film buffs will love this movie. It is the Nostalgia Critic’s favorite horror movie. (If you don’t know who the Nostalgia Critic is, stay tuned. We are going to be going a review of him).
Murder Party shows that a good director, good actors and an interesting idea can still be combined to make a good movie with almost no money.
We Rate this movie Four Stars ****