Kill Me Three Times thinks it knows what makes a dark comedy: liminal locale, ruthless characters, and a catchy theme. What it doesn’t understand, however, is that bashing the audience across the skull with self-conscious zaniness is neither dark nor comedic. The whole film fails to engage with any suspension of disbelief, a direct result of its profoundly slapdash and inconsistent tone. Even Simon Pegg as snarky assassin Charlie Wolfe doesn’t bring the film much joy, adding another mediocre non-Cornetto title to his name.
KILLED US ONCE:
The funniest moment (by which I mean the only audible chuckle) arrives an hour and a bit into the film: while Simon Pegg microwaves a VHS to dispose of evidence, the film cuts to a close-up of him pressing the ‘pizza’ button. Seriously, that was the funniest moment in the film. Every other gag in the film was either painfully laboured, or marred with badly timed editing.
KILLED US TWICE:
The characters, though perhaps an eclectic bunch on paper, are as wooden and wobbly as an IKEA bookshelf built by a dog. Rather than a tightly constructed collection of intertwined stories, we get a mangled mishmash of swearing, spurting blood, and faux-edginess. The main movers in the film are a perpetual fuck-up dentist and his maniac wife, with a shoehorned romance, a bent cop, a wife-beating barkeep, and an assassin. Kooky, right! In an attempt to justify their mindless killing, the dentist’s wife says says straight-faced, while in their multi-million dollar seaside resort of a house, “I’m tired of living like this. I’m sick of barely scraping by.” What was apathy before quickly became abject frustration. Oh, and they all kill each other in the end, in arguably the most laboured and lugubrious shoot-out ever filmed.
KILLED US THREE TIMES:
Kill Me Three Times is wildly incoherent across the entire spectrum: its genre (a dark comedy that isn’t funny), writing (between the ensemble, they just about reach the second dimension of character), form (what the hell is the point of the ‘act’ structure?) and style (shiny slow-motion location shots do not an impressive film make). Really, just get it over with and kill us once.
Directed by Kriv Stenders
Written by James McFarland
Starring Teresa Palmer, Simon Pegg, Alice Braga
Run time: 90 minutes