SexyKiller (2008)

Rating: B

Dir: Miguel Martí
Star: Macarena Gómez, César Camino, Alejo Sauras, Ángel de Andrés

When it comes to horror movies, the line between clever and too clever is often a thin one. While a certain degree of self-awareness is good in the horror genre, it’s easy to topple over into smugness, where you stop working with the genre, and end up laughing at it with a self-superior attitude. SexyKiller manages to avoid this fate: director Marti and writer Paco Cabezas both have a love for the genre, that shines through in just about every scene. It centres on Barbara (Gómez), a medical student at a college being terrorized by the Campus Killer, a murderer who is taking out the trash in spectacular ways. It’s giving nothing away to say that Barbara is said psychopath, but no one-believes her. Even her bare-faced statement to the police, when they knock on her door looking for the killer – “You’ve found her” – gets nothing more a droll laugh from the officer in question.

Her career of beautifully-accessorized slaughter is eventually put on hold, thanks to fellow student Tomas (Camino), for whom Barbara falls, mistakenly believing him to be a fellow psycho. He has also invented a machine to read thoughts, and it’s turned onto some of her victims, in an effort to find out their last memory – presumably, of who killed them. As this, it’s not entirely successful. But what it is very good at, is bringing them back from the grave, though with a minor side-effect. Involving flesh-eating. Yes, from being a blackly humourous serial-killer flick, it’s now a zombie movie, and it’s not long before the campus Halloween party is under siege, and Barbara’s unique skill-set becomes extremely useful. Mind you, her sociopathy is still an issue, and she has absolutely no qualms about feeding those she dislikes to the undead horde.

Interestingly, in the IMDB ratings, it currently scores more than two points higher among women than men – while the sample size is still small, that’s rare for the genres of serial-killer or zombie flicks. I just loved the unashamed nature of it all: Barbara is perfectly comfortable with who she is, and is in no need of redemption, by Tomas or anyone else. The fourth wall is continually broken, and Marti uses a whole bunch of tricks, from flashbacks to musical numbers, to get his point across and make his anti-heroine sympathetic, in which he succeeds marvellously. Even if Gómez occasionally looks a bit too much like a pissed-off version of Mena Suvari, and the sex and violence quota are not quite as high as they could have been, this is a great way to start the New Year.

[This review previously appeared on]