Based on the novel by Bryan Smith, 68 Kill is another darkly comedic crime thriller from Trent Haaga, and if you don't know of Haaga by now then you should really change that. He has been acting since his years at Troma, making his credited debut in the superb Terror Firmer, and will be very familiar to any fans of the Killjoy movies (thanks to his turns as the titular killer clown). He has been writing films as varied as Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV, Deadgirl, and Cheap Thrills. And he has directed films such as, well, this one and the wonderfully twisted Chop (a film I wish everyone would see ASAP, despite it being made unnecessarily difficult to get hold of, hence the link for the R1 disc there, please take note of that).
Considering his growing body of work, it's a surprise that this is the first feature that Haaga has both written and directed (his debut directorial work was written by Adam Minarovich). But the mix of violence and sheer fun makes it an obvious choice for something that he would want to turn into an entertaining movie, and that's exactly what he does.
Matthew Gray Gubler plays Chip, a young man who ends up in a whole heap of trouble when he is persuaded by his batshit crazy girlfriend, Liza (AnnaLynne McCord), to help commit a robbery. Liza claims that nobody will get hurt, it should be an easy job, but it's not long until blood starts to flow, leading Chip to doubt whether or not he really does want to spend the rest of his days with someone who terrifies the life out of him. And so starts a chain of twists and turns, treacheries, and pain. All doled out with a fine vein of humour running throughout.
There are plenty of supporting characters here, most of them unsavoury types who would rob you in an instant, but it's testament to the script and central performances that McCord and Gubler rule over this entire film. That's especially true of McCord, absent from many scenes but always seemingly ready to reappear and ruin the lives of anyone getting in the way of her grand plan.
It's brisk, it's very funny, it has moments of grim nastiness, and it takes the male sap archetype from film noirs through one of the darkest and bloodiest journeys seen outside of a Quentin Tarantino film. 68 Kill deserves your time, if you don't mind the subject matter, and Trent Haaga deserves to keep going from strength to strength. I tend to look forward to everything that his name gets attached to.
68 Kill is available to buy here.
If you are in America then order it here.