TIFF08 REVIEW: Sexykiller, moriras por ella [2008]

“Like killing, but backwards”

It is going to be very hard to delineate the film Sexykiller from the experience I had seeing it. My screening at the Toronto International Film Festival was the first time I had ever been to a Midnight Madness event. The atmosphere was fantastic, the theatre filled with kindred souls, all ready to have a blast and check their brains at the door. While we waited in line for seats, a couple people dressed in makeup as zombies walked by, talking to themselves about where they should go, and do the people in charge know that the zombies had arrived? Right then we knew we were in store for a good time, they had hired “actors” to pose with the director and lead actress on the red carpet, adding that much more fun to the evening. Before the film started rolling, director Miguel Martí and actress Macarena Gómez took the stage and introduced their work. Definitely excited to see the finished product for the first time with an audience, Martí was beyond words, as far as his grasp of English went, reverting to Spanish with a brief translation from Gómez. The stage was set and the fun was just starting.

Our entrance to the film is of course inside a women’s locker room. How much more clichéd can you get for a horror/slasher flick? There is gratuitous nudity, some funny quips, and did I mention gratuitous nudity? When it appears all the girls have left, in comes someone dressed up like the killer from Scream. He goes through the locker room looking for naked girls, waving his knife around until he finds Gómez’s Barbara screaming and running away. It all starts here as we discover the “killer” is just a boy from the school trying to see unclothed girls and the victim Barbara is in fact the sexy killer of the title, unafraid to show her constitution for blood and carnage.

It is a hokey beginning that the audience completely ate up. I will admit that I wasn’t necessarily impressed, it all seemed obvious although mildly humorous. We next arrive at the school and are introduced to Barbara’s clique of friends, an interesting mix of people just finding out about the murder of their fallen classmate. It is no match for the excitement about a costume party happening that evening, though, one which sees our killer dress up in goth and carry a see-through bag, of course containing her latest victim’s real decapitated head. Moving down the street she encounters a gentleman driving recklessly who proceeds to anger her, something you don’t want to do. She asks if he wants to dance, as in fight, and continues to twist his arm around, break his fingers, and shoving a sharp object through his hand to hold him to the car. It is all well and good until something happens that truly grabbed my attention … Barbara turns to the screen and talks directly to us, the audience, deciding where to begin her tale, the journey that led to that moment. We now are treated to flashbacks with the occasional return to her and her captive to narrate and keep us up to speed. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for fourth wall breaking, it just makes the film experience that much more visceral, involving me on a personal level. I loved it in films like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and I definitely enjoyed its flair here.

At this point, one would figure that the slasher aspect will carry on until the end, deaths will pile up and laughs will be had. Instead, however, Tomás is brought into the fold, having just created a machine that will allow the user to see a deceased person’s final vision, most likely his murderer. Of course things can’t be that simple as we soon learn the injection used causes the rebirth of the victim into a zombie, coherent and aware of his previous life, fueling even more funny moments. The rest of the movie involves these plot threads as Barbara looks sexy and kills without remorse. It is a lot of laughs and a good time, especially with the uproarious crowd on hand trying to make the director and actress in attendance feel great, but it just isn’t all that special in my book. There is a wealth of gore-fests, playing on the irony and humor of graphic death, and Sexykiller doesn’t necessarily separate itself from the pack.

That said, though, there are many instances that I just loved. Sure the blood was entertaining, but it’s the jokes that landed for me. Paco Cabezas, the screenwriter, pulls no punches at mocking Hollywood or itself. One great instance is a short take down of Kate Winslet from Titanic. Barbara gives her a dressing down worthy of big laughs. Marcarena Gómez must be given credit for these types of scenes as well as the whole film, she is perfect for the role. Sure she goes too far sometimes and hams it up for the camera, but really, that’s exactly what an audience for this genre wants.

My favorite scene comes at another time, when Barbara and Tómas, a nice turn from César Camino, are on a date. His working with his machine in a morgue with dead bodies allows the conversation to veer to a point where she believes him to also be a killer. After seeing a dress she wanted on a woman going to the bathroom, Barbara follows her in and kills her, taking the dress and returning to her table. Tómas of course believes this to be a joke and when she says he should go for the tuxedo that just walked into the men’s room, he jumps at the chance to impress her. Once he enters the bathroom, the exchange between he and the man he is “supposed to kill” is absolutely hilarious. From the line of Tómas begging for the suit because he will never get a woman as hot as Barbara again to the question of whether they are both Trekkies, I couldn’t stop laughing. There are definite moments of brilliance, but I honestly can’t say I truly loved a film of this kind; there are just too many inherent problems with the genre and preconceptions creating a stigma of campy schlock. Better than it should have been, however, I will recommend it for a good time late night.

Sexykiller, morirás por ella 5/10 | ★ ★

courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival


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