Home » Killer Kites is So Much Better Than It Has Any Right to Be [Review]

Killer Kites is So Much Better Than It Has Any Right to Be [Review]

With a title like Killer Kites, you know exactly what you’re in for–especially if you’ve seen the delightfully unhinged trailer. This is the kind of wacky, no-holds-barred, zero-budget horror movie that’s impossible to resist because it’s such a miracle that it got made in the first place. The action kicks off in 1956 Germany (hoo boy), but we immediately know it’s the olden times because, even before the title card pops up, everything has a grey sheen to it. A ludicrously catchy song about killer kites plays over the opening credits, during which kites are inserted into various famous photographs throughout history, including one murdering JFK. When we land back in the modern day, we’re ostensibly in an office that’s clearly just the corner of someone’s home.

Our heroine is Abby (Manon Pages), a rather serious, stoic young woman who’s consistently pestered by her colleague Daniel when she’s just trying to do her (completely unclear) job. Daniel has an internal monologue that includes him wondering whether he “should dress up as a maid” to entice Abby, instantly establishing the movie’s sense of humor, which is dumb, goofy, and yet still clever all at once. Later, Abby’s brother knocks on the kite and somehow deduces it’s both 30-years-old and also from World War II. He’s then murdered by the kite, leading Abby and Daniel to check out his murder wall to try to decipher what the hell is going on–among Brian’s notes are “Garth Brooks likes kites,” “Saturday Kite Live,” and simply, “Bono.”

Suffice it to say, this movie is all over the place, but in an endearing way. It helps enormously that Pages is so committed to her role, and so convincing in it. If the outtakes are any indication, she found it incredibly tough to keep a straight face during filming, which underscores how terrific her performance is. Killer Kites is populated almost entirely by white men, each dumber and more unhinged than the last, but Abby is thankfully not positioned as a fun-sapping scold the way she would be in a Judd Apatow movie. Instead, she’s simply the most capable person for the job with a surprisingly deep, albeit ludicrously over-complicated, connection to the villain(s). There’s a delightfully ambling insouciance to the proceedings but Pages effortlessly anchors everything.

There are glaring lighting and audio issues throughout, with a phone call conducted in a car with both actors evidently sitting next to each other, and the kite’s POV is orange rather than red, while Abby has a noticeable accent, but her brother doesn’t. Four camera operators worked on the movie but, evidently, not one of them had a tripod on him. One guy’s shirt is blurred out, but they sneak in a Zelda Triforce elsewhere. The most obvious error, though, relates to the kites themselves, which are mostly shown flying around using dodgy CGI. The deaths are often computer-generated too, when a practical neck wound, for instance, would look much better.

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Much of Killer Kites could be considered a loving homage to Birdemic, the crucial difference being that that movie took itself way too seriously while this one gambols about joyfully, almost as though the filmmakers can’t believe they’re getting away with it. It’s got major Mega64 vibes too; Rocco Botte could easily have played the role of The Oracle–a man who keeps hamburgers in the pockets of his bathrobe and never takes his sunglasses off. Everybody is clearly game for a laugh, with actors rolling around on the ground while pretending to be attacked by kites before jumping on top of them to neutralize the threat. If anything, it’s a shame Killer Kites doesn’t lean more into this style of deranged slapstick humor rather than trying, even minimally, to paper over the cracks with CGI.

There’s at least one great shot of a kite lurking behind an unsuspecting person, and later the camera lingers between a ladder while someone clearly holds another kite aloft above it, again signifying that practical is always best regardless of whether it’s fully convincing. At least the filmmakers have the courage of their convictions, the frequently laugh-out-loud funny script (written by Austin Frosch, who co-directed with Paul Dale, who also stars–phew!) peppered with memorable lines like “Let’s go murder some f*****g kites!” and “I saw this on Rogan!” However, the moment when they try to sell us another movie that they’ve made is cringe-worthy not because of how brazen it is, but because of how unnecessary. Killer Kites is super entertaining and impossible to resist, even despite how inarguably rough it is around the edges, so just let it speak for itself and be confident with it.

After all, anyone who’s sought out a movie called Killer Kites is probably already onboard and for those who know exactly what they’re in for, they won’t be disappointed. For everybody else, it’s only an hour out of their lives.

Director(s): Paul Dale, Austin Frosch
Writer(s): Austin Frosch
Stars: Austin Naulty, Manon Pages, Carter Simoneaux
Release date: May 26, 2023 (Digital)
Language: English
Run Time: 72 minutes

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Written by Joey Keogh
Slasher fanatic Joey Keogh has been writing since she could hold a pen, and watching horror movies even longer. Aside from making a little home for herself at Wicked Horror, Joey also writes for Birth.Movies.Death, The List, and Vague Visages among others. Her actual home boasts Halloween decorations all year round. Hello to Jason Isaacs.
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