Fantastic Fest Review: Don't Kill It

Dolph Lundgren goes for laughs in demon comedy

Dolph Lundgren says Don't Kill It in this uproarious horror comedy.

Here's a simple rule. When your small Mississipi town has a plague of triple homicides caused by a body-hopping demon, and Dolph Lundgren tells you Don't Kill It, you don't kill it. Capisce?

That's one of the gutbuster belly laughs in the latest from horror-comedy director Mike Mendez. It's Lundgren as demon-hunter Jebediah Woodley, knowing that whenever he explains this to anyone, whether it be the FBI agent (Kristina Klebe), sent to solve the killings, or the preacher and his devoted flock (Lundgren regular co-star James Chalke), they'll think he's crazy. But he'll try it anyway, in the flattest, most reasonable tone possible. Even when he's being pulled out of the room, or in the middle of a demonic blood bath. He's the voice of mistimed reason, playing perfectly against type as the guy that can never pull the trigger.

Lundgren made his reputation as a terrifying man-mountain, such as his landmark role as the granite-chinned boxing machine Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. In recent years, he's undergone somewhat of a revival in more cerebral actioneers, like the reboot of the Universal Soldier franchise. But Don't Kill It revels in his dry yet goofy sense of humor. Rather than the taciturn killer he was born to play, Woodley is a bit of a blatherer. Lundgren joked after Saturday's Fantastic Fest premiere that he has more lines in his first scene than his last five films, and he shows that those filmmakers were missing out.

It arguably took Mendez to work out what everyone else had ignored. It also arguably gave him the component that he really needed. He's never seemingly hit quite the right tone in his films to date, whether it be a little too straight-laced in his break-out success The Gravedancers, or a little too silly in monster spoof Big Ass Spider! But in the perfectly self-aware Lundgren, he has his perfect muse/foil for his brand of smartly/silly horror spoof.


Don't Kill It screens again Thursday, Sept. 29, 4:45pm.

Fantastic Fest 2016 runs Sept. 22-29 at the Alamo South Lamar. Tickets and info at www.fantasticfest.com, and follow our ongoing coverage at austinchronicle.com/fantasticfest.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Fantastic Fest
They're Here! Fantastic Fest Wave One Arrives
First Fantastic Fest 2018 Titles
Overlord, Apostle headline fest opening salvo

Richard Whittaker, July 31, 2018

Exploring <i>The Endless</i> With Benson and Moorhead
Exploring The Endless With Benson and Moorhead
Filmmakers talk science, magic, and bickering brothers

Richard Whittaker, April 20, 2018

More Fantastic Fest 2016
DVDanger: <i>A Dark Song</i>
DVDanger: A Dark Song
Director Liam Gavin on magic and loss

Richard Whittaker, April 30, 2017

Nacho Vigalondo on <i>Colossal</i>
Nacho Vigalondo on Colossal
Combining the mediocre and cosmic with the creature feature director

Richard Whittaker, April 14, 2017

More by Richard Whittaker
Time to Summon a Demon!
Time to Summon a Demon!
Watch the latest short from Austin's Chris McInroy

Dec. 14, 2018

The Personal Stories Behind <i>Ben Is Back</i>
The Personal Stories Behind Ben Is Back
Writer/director Peter Hedges on family, alcoholism, and going home

Dec. 14, 2018

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Alamo South Lamar, Fantastic Fest, Fantastic Fest 2016, Don't Kill It, Dolph Lundgren

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle