Our entry for television horror this month, brings a film that premiered during the 2018 countdown to Halloween on the Syfy network, from the production company Blue Ice Pictures, which makes a few TV-movies such as Neverknock (2017) and Leprechaun Returns (2018) and very recently feature film The Banana Splits Movie (2019). Often readers of this category found us here at The Horror Times covering mainly 70s television horror, but one can’t limit themselves to just a decade, the small screen does generate a lot of horror. Therefore on October 20, 2018 Killer High aired from director Jem Garrard and written by Suzanne Kelly, first this isn’t a straight-slasher movie, nor a throwback to something like Slaughter High (1986) or even Return to Horror High (1987), it’s more along the lines of a possessed creature feature flick.
Wallingham High School a typical school back in 2008 was filled with every type of stereotype, but now it’s time for a reunion, and most truly didn’t care except an overanxious underachieving honor student from then named Sabrina (Kacey Rohl (Red Riding Hood )). A significant problem exists, Wallingham has fallen on very hard times, it’s a ghost town, businesses and people have either died or moved away, some did both, but a billboard reads coming soon Afterlife Oasis, a joint retirement home and graveyard. Sabrina wants to show Rosario (Humberly Gonzalez (Witches in the Woods )) that she’s still prom queen even though her rival found success in New York. Every detail must be perfect of course, however there’s nothing but a series of problems, yet she won’t listen and enlists the aid of her best friend Margo (Asha Bromfield) and pal Ronnie (Varum Saranga), who has kept his crush on Margo a secret and very unnoticed, to any person not alive. Meanwhile, a group of teens on a treasure hunt break into the school, as they search for something bearing the logo of the school, one finds the team mascot suit, a warthog, and puts it on and becomes possessed and kills his friends. A hard cut to Sabrina and her team fixing up the school and filling it with the class of 2008, the reunion gets under way with people being killed by the possessed warthog thing. It includes a scene of a devoted religious individual praying to the Lord for salvation, but ended in a hellish blood splattering decapitation.
Ah, the issues with the movie, not all bad, understand, it’s a television movie, with pronounced limitations, but on time and budget, as well as censors. The group of adults still adhere to their stereotypical behaviors and actually appear more as strange comical references of themselves all resulting an excessive amount for cheesy horror-comedy movie., Uncharacteristically for a roster filled with familiarity, the problem is that these archetypes don’t go all the way over the top into full caricatures. The script struggles early on, but hits its stride somewhere in the second act and provides a few jokes, not necessary one-liner laugh riot, rather a chuckle then a ton of groans, however Garrard fails to allow for any wiggle room, rather following the screenplay as an instruction manual than letting the actors breathe the humor into their characters. The biggest issue comes from the creature itself, quite laughable, it truly looks like a guy wearing a Halloween mask, rather than a demon possessed creature, if one’s budget doesn’t provide for the monster then don’t show it. There are a few odd moments during the CGI dance floor massacre scene, such as Matrix induced freeze framing, and the soundtrack which features 80s synth music, however that’s not the music that teens in 2000s listened too, but most viewers are likely not paying attention to the score.
One aspect of the film I like was the inclusion of a killer hog/pig it’s something the horror world could have a lot more of in my opinion. Every serious horror fan recalls Razorback (1984), but must not ignore the other pig/hog/boar horror films such as Pig Hunt (2009), Evil Speak (1981), Porkchop (2010), Squeal (2008), and soon to-be released Boar (2017) in 2019. Although, I think many audiences likely prefer a straight slasher movie, that even made the comical references to the teen years. Otherwise this production, hits some marks, but overall not a failing grade. It just needed someone to embrace the non-denial moments and scenes on the screen and deploy some Troma treatment, but alas that’s on the menu, just a lot of what-could-have-been.
IMDb Rating: 4.9/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.5/10
Here’s the full movie: