Movie Review: “Apocalypse Kiss” Is Laughable And Nonsensical

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Review by James McDonald

In this futuristic science fiction thriller, government security agent Jerry Hipple is tracking the city’s most infamous criminal, The Red Harvest Killer. All the while, killers and victims alike are unaware the world is about to reach an abrupt catastrophic ending.

Low-budget films can be a multitude of varying emotions: scary – “Halloween”, creepy – “The Blair Witch Project”, funny – “Napolean Dynamite” or just plain awful – “Apocalypse Kiss”. The film wants so badly to be “Blade Runner” that we have dimly lit backstreets, muggers, rapists and murderers and a large futuristic mega-corporation who controls everything, along with flying Zeppelins with neon signs and large video screens with commercials playing on them as they hover over the city. In amongst all the chaos on the streets below, there is a serial killer who is known as the ‘Red Harvest Killer’. There’s no meaning behind his moniker, no reference whatsoever to his style or technique as to how he kills, it’s just what they call him.

Then we have two young women who go around the city, killing people for absolutely no reason whatsoever and taking over their place of residence until such time that they feel like moving on. We also have Detective Jerry Hipple, who has been on the trail of the Red Harvest Killer for some time now and who is no closer to catching him as he was when he first took over the case years earlier. I’m guessing that the filmmakers wanted these stories to intertwine, intricately with each other but sadly, it was not meant to be. The acting by most of the actors herein, is absolutely horrendous. The only saving graces were D.C. Douglas as the aforementioned Red Harvest Killer, who appeared to be having fun with his role and the occasional cameo by screen veteran, Tom Atkins (“The Fog”, “Halloween III”, “Lethal Weapon”) as Detective Hipple’s superior.

I don’t mind a movie stealing ideas from other movies, whatever it takes to inspire you, let it show but here, director Christian Grillo obviously hopes that in the thirty two years since “Blade Runner”, the general public will have forgotten about the movie and that they will all drop to their knees, hypnotized by Mr. Grillo’s impeccable masterpiece. The film also takes obvious ideas from other serial killer movies. In order to make the Red Harvest Killer appear to be ‘crazy’ and ‘scary’, he turns up the volume of some futuristic punk music to drown out the screams of his victim and begins dancing around the room with a big grin on his face. This scenario might have worked in “Silence of the Lambs” but that was because Ted Levine is a damn fine actor, not someone who’s just recreating a scene for the sake of ‘appearing’ crazy. He also wraps his victims up in plastic so they can’t move and I’m sure you can guess what TV show that came from.

Just when you think things can’t get any worse, we are given an absolutely preposterous finale whereby the President of the United States (Lloyd Kaufman) appears on TV screens and monitors around the world to let everyone know that he and his family and some elite few, are safely on a space station orbiting earth. He proceeds to tell everyone that a rogue planet is heading towards us which will utterly annihilate mankind and the entire globe. And that’s it. The intricate character development and story exposition that filled our screens with fervent anticipation for the first three quarters of the movie, is thrown out the window because, hey, the world’s ending so who gives a crap? Obviously, the filmmakers didn’t.

In theaters April 8th

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James McDonald
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