Friday, March 18, 2016

“Kill Me Please”– Movie Review


With the beginning of The Film Society Of Lincoln Center’s New Directors/New Films series this week, I attended a screening of “Kill Me Please”, a new drama from Brazil. 


When a group of high school girls become obsessed with a series of murders in their community, how will their personal lives suffer as a result?


Barra da Tijuca is an upscale neighborhood located in the West Side Zone of Rio de Janeiro. The otherwise pleasant life of its residents is intruded upon when a series of grisly murders occurs, with most of the victims being pretty young brunette women. A group of adolescent teenage girls become captivated by this increasingly visible news; their obsession with boys competes with their obsession over these serial killings. Bia is one girl who gets particularly swept up in all of this; with plenty of free time on her hands since her mother is out of town and her older brother João ignoring her, Bia’s thoughts turn increasingly dark when she realizes the victims bear a striking resemblance to her.

Perhaps to take her mind off these horrors – or perhaps she’s just got a prodigious libido – Bia gives her boyfriend growing attention. She pressures him for physical intimacy but being religious, he declines. Frustrated, Bia focuses her attention on the murders; the thought that she might be one of the next victims appears to simultaneously scare and excite her. Ultimately, this has a negative impact on her friendships, particularly when one of the girls displays a romantic interest in João – who’s completely indifferent to her since he’s lamenting the loss of the girlfriend who apparently recently dumped him.

Bia gets too close for comfort with these killings; when going home after school, she happens upon a young woman who appears to have been the latest victim of this serial killer. Badly bruised, bloody and beaten, she’s barely alive. Bia sends her friends to get help while she stays with the girl, encouraging her to hang on – given her condition, it doesn’t look like she’s going to last much longer. Eventually, Bia’s macabre behavior alienates what remains of her friends, leaving her virtually alone. Will Bia’s fetishistic preoccupation with these killings permanently isolate her from society?  


Is “Kill Me Please” a coming of age story or a slasher flick? Curiously, the answer may be both. The film has a compelling opening – for the first minutes, there is absolutely no dialog and each gloomy, foreboding shot wonderfully sets the tone for the story to follow. For much of the movie, the audience is invited into an unfamiliar world and we hang in there wondering where all of this is going. The problem is that by the third act, the main spine of the story seems to have been either lost or intentionally discarded along the way; what results is a deeply unsatisfying ending which is about as clear as mud.

While the idea of “Kill Me Please” is certainly unique – combining a murder mystery with the angst of teenage females – it may have been too much for a first-time feature filmmaker to attempt. It’s too bad because each story unto itself would have made an interesting film. What’s particularly unusual is the fact that Bia is a young woman of multiple lusts: one for sex and one for blood. Both appear to be equally as strong. Religion takes quite a beating, too: evangelicals are made out to be morons and prayer services come off looking and sounding more like a Rave Party.  

Following the screening was a question and answer session with “Kill Me Please” director Anita Rocha da Silveira. With this being her first feature film, she said it was based on one of her earlier short films which had a similar theme. Both movies were inspired by a true incident: when she was a teenager, one of her closest friends committed suicide and she wound up having a tremendous amount of difficulty coming to terms with her loss. The director admitted that much of the visual style of this motion picture was inspired by David Lynch’s short-lived television show,“Twin Peaks”.

Kill Me Please (2015) on IMDb

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