KatieBird *certifiable crazy person (2004) (RePost from the old Ryan’s Reviews site)

Description (from the box):
What would happen if someone like Ed Gein or Ted Bundy were to have children and raise them up to follow in their bloody footsteps? KatieBird Wilkins, brought to life with unnerving depth and believability by horror veteran Helene (MY BLOODY VALENTINE) Udy and newcomer Taylor M. Dooley, explores this very question in a chilling and graphic testimony of family tradition, emotional confusion, and complete insanity. Crisp, stylish Hi-Definition imagery and a wild original score come together to tell the unforgettable story of a certifiably crazy cast of characters…

Major Cast:
Helene Udy as KatieBird Wilkins, Taylor Dooley as Teen KatieBird, Todd Gordon as Dr. Mark Richardson, Jun Hee Lee as Kevin Cool, and Lee Perkins as Merl “Daddy” Wilkins

Special Features:
None, screener copy.

Written and Directed by Justin Paul Ritter

Wow. That was an ordeal. Katie Bird *certifiable crazy person was by far the most disturbing film I’ve seen this year. Maybe last year too. KB disturbs on such a deep level that I found it hard to watch in places, and I’m not a squeamish person. At all. Lucio Fulci has made some of my favorite films; I can deal with the gore. But damn, KB was hard to stomach!

KB is a confessional film; KatieBird has taken her psychiatrist (who obviously has not been doing a very good job) hostage and is spilling her whole story as she tortures him. KatieBird is the latest in a long line of killers, her father, his father, and his father before were all killers. It was just “a part of who (they) are.” KatieBird explains how her father shaped her as a killer while she shows her psychiatrist first hand what her sadism is capable of. KatieBird is one messed up chick – beyond the fact that she’s an extremely sadistic serial killer (as if that wasn’t enough), she is also a rapist and a fetishistic masochist. And KB has no qualms showing the viewer exactly how KatieBird puts her sadomasochism to work on both her psychiatrist in the present, and her first victim when KatieBird was a teenager. I don’t want to go too much more into the story, as I feel that KB will have a greater impact if you, the reader, see what happens for your self.

KB stands above the low-budget horror crowd in many ways. First, and most obvious, is the use of multi-paneling. Think “split-screen,” but more complex (3, 4, or more panels; complex composition of panels) – this is how at least 90% of the film is displayed. Rarely is there only one image on screen. Often this works well for the story, showing both speaker and listener in a scene, or forcing perspective on an objector a characters eyes or face in another. I felt that the multi-paneling was overused in some scenes; places where a full shot would be more effective, or where multiple panels display the exact same (thought possibly zoomed) footage. Watching the multi-panels makes this film more to absorb, which adds to the “weight” of KB. This is a heavy film. Every once in awhile there is just TOO MUCH information on screen at once, and the multi-panel effect makes viewing the scene too much to take in at once. Maybe this will lead to enhanced repeat viewings… when I can get my self into the mood to endure KB again!

KB also stands out based on the cinematography of Josh Fong. The picture, shot Hi-Def, is extremely clear and vibrant. Especially so in the lead up to Teen KatieBird’s first kill; she stalks Kevin Cool in an orchard filled with nearly neon-orange leaves. Intense orange, azure blue sky, and the sound of crinkling leaves fuse together to create a scene much more menacing than would be thought possible in such beautiful surroundings. When it is not blocked by the use of multi-paneling, the composition of shots in KB is very visually pleasing (even when what we’re looking at is not).

Also shining in KB is the quality of both the sound design and music. The post sound and dialogue are both top-quality, much better than most low-budget horror. The music of Daniel Iannantuono reminds me of The Goblins, and I felt that the score to KB played like an updated version of a Dario Argento film. This is a good thing, in my eyes, and almost feels like a reference to slasher films of the past.

The make-up effects in KB are extremely disturbing. I felt that the violence and gore in this film was a bit over the top; there were more repetitions of the same violence than I cared to see. On the
other hand, the violence in the film does follow an “M.O.” for a serial killer that has a routine, and also was so well executed through Michael Measimer’s effects that I found some of the violence hard to watch. That doesn’t happen to me very often, so that’s saying a lot for the effects in this film.

And last but by FAR not least, the acting quality in KB. Justin Paul Ritter has captured a film full of great performances. There are not many low-budget horror directors that can say that. Helene Udy
is extremely disturbing and convincing as the adult KatieBird. Todd Gordon and Jun Hee Lee are both convincing recipients of torture, and both felt like real people in real dire situations. But I was
most impressed by the scenes of Teen KatieBird and Daddy Wilkins. Taylor Dooley’s Teen KatieBird is at once confused and convinced, both sweet and beyond evil. I had no trouble believing that this girl was ready kill… and I had no trouble believing she got her killer instinct from her father. Lee Perkins’ Daddy Wilkins is menacing in a way I haven’t seen since Michael Rooker in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. I NEVER want to meet anyone remotely resembling Daddy Wilkins; if I do you won’t be hearing from me again!

Overall, KatieBird *certifiable crazy person was an extremely impressive entry in the world of low-budget horror. The acting, cinematography, effects, sound, editing, and direction were all well above par. I’m just not sure who I could recommend this film to… I guess anyone looking for something extremely heavy and disturbing. If you are looking for a feel good film, or some campy gore, look elsewhere. KB is gore-filled, yes, but there is no camp or comedy to speak of in this film. KB is dark, disturbing, and hard to forget.

Overall 9/10

KatieBird *certifiable crazy person on the imdb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0435678/

KatieBird *certifiable crazy person for sale: http://www.hereticfilms.com/katie.html

KatieBird *certifiable crazy person site: http://www.katiebirdthemovie.com/


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