Killer Looks (2018)

Rating: E

Dir: Christopher Krueger
Star: Vaughn Green, Katherine Flannery, Jeffrey Kaye, John C. Epperson

This film is trying way too hard, and as a result ends up simply being utterly trying, to the point I spent a good chunk wondering about the purpose of its existence. Was it perhaps a tax write-off? Some kind of money laundering scheme? Or just a vanity project for Krueger, who also wrote, produced, edited and arranged the score (though it all appears to be Creative Commons music), on this woefully inept exercise? We’ll probably never know. But it gives you some idea about the bottom of the barrel nature here, that there is actually a credit, “Makeup, wardrobe and vehicles were provided by the dedicated cast.” That’s not exactly the kind of thing any film should want to tout.

It’s set in Los Angeles, and is the story of down at heel private detective Gunn (Vaughn), who is investigating the murder of a fashion photographer. Quite why this is left up to him, rather than it being a police matter, I don’t know. Probably the production – or, rather, the cast – couldn’t afford more than the one cop uniform, which shows up in a single scene. Glomming on to him like an STD, and about as pleasant company, is bartender and wannabe sidekick, Alex Bishop (Flannery), whose specialties include puns and martial arts. It’s a real race to the bottom as to which is worse: her comedic timing or her action capabilities. Overall, her performance feels as if someone ran Drew Barrymore through Google Translate a few dozen times. She demonstrates the purest example of that “trying too hard” thing I mentioned.

There is hardly anything in the way of development, either of character or plot. The Gunn and Bishop you get in their first scene are basically the same ones you get in their last. Meanwhile, their investigation lurches from one scene to the next, with supporting characters who appear, deliver a few lines, then evaporate, never to be heard from again, and making almost no impression. I did like the midget photographer (credited as Sammy the Dwarf), simply because nobody makes a fuss about him being a midget. Which is exactly how it should be. On the other hand, there is a frankly creepy vibe about the way almost every actress in this ends up scantily clad or less, and some such scenes appear to possess no narrative point at all. Add “casting couch” to the list of potential purposes.

The plot proceeds to its conclusion, through threads involving escorts, sex tapes and blackmail. None of which are the least bit interesting. Gunn and Bishop exchange banter that attempts to be witty, yet every line drops dead on delivery. I did not even smile once, and can only imagine Krueger the director nodding in approval as Krueger the writer delivers page upon page of leaden, turgid dialogue. This film is Exhibit A, for the proposition that there is little harder to endure than bad comedy.