Directed by Brooks Hunter
As a horror blogger, you'll get a range of indie horror films sent to you hoping that you'll see a breakout movie that is a diamond in the rough. Canada is ripe with horror talent from the Soska Sisters to Jason Eisener. When I read the synopsis for Kenneyville, I have to say I was intrigued: "a local scientist and businessman, has been collecting innocent women for experiments in creating brainwashed assassins."
Trailer looked promising enough and then I watched the whole movie. Well sometimes all you get are rocks. Kenneyville has a damn creative premise, promising characters and set in Canada, it seems unexpected. But the execution is clearly off, the acting pretty cardboard and stiff and the payoff downright disappointing.
What's left is a indie movie that's ambitiously slick for it's own good. I can buy that there are redneck sections of Canada, but government conspiracies and a town hiding one of helluva secret is a bit much. Director Brooks Hunter via the press release says the movie reflects his bipolar disorder and there are metaphors throughout. Clearly if I knew this I'd have probably seen a broken glass of milk as something other than a broken glass of milk. Sorry, I'm not that clever.
There is something seriously wrong with Kenneyville. When, a young woman, KIM, from Toronto goes missing and police mysteriously drop the case earlier than expected, two private detectives are hired to find her. With undercover aliases, CHARLIE and KELLY head to the small town of Kenneyville for answers after discovering significant clues. Upon meeting seemingly innocent locals, Charlie is brutally beaten and Kelly is ruthlessly kidnapped. Charlie awakens in shock with a new mission: to find and save his partner. We soon realize the horrific truth behind both women's disappearances. ADRIAN BLACK, a local scientist and businessman, has been collecting innocent women for experiments in creating brainwashed assassins. Charlie soon discovers just how deep the rabbit hole goes and ultimately learns which shocking 'mega-organization' has hired Adrian to produce these ruthless killing machines.
Intrepid reporters/private investigators Patrick and Megan investigate a disappearance of a girl and head to Kenneyville, Canada. As they meet the locals who are fuckin waaay peculiar, Megan is kidnapped and soon joins other women who are systematically brainwashed by the evil Adrian Black. It's up to Patrick and his new found buddy Donovan to come to the rescue.
I'll start off with the little bit of good. The movie isn't just rednecks run amok but actually has a Charles Manson like plot device that makes the opening and the investigation somewhat interesting. Megan (Vanessa Broze) is a bit easy on the eyes looking all Elisha Cuthbert-ish. I began imagining a bunch of La Femme Nikitas all running around this town as Fox and Scully try to uncover this X-File. But somehow all I got instead was some atrocious acting and lots of dialogue filled with exclamation points.
Michael Scratch as Black performs with a twitchy eye and plays his Dr. Frankenstein as best he can. The locals also seem to be over the top and his #1 Victoria (Irena Angeloutsa) is clearly a bit wacky.
Now that I think of it, if the movie is suppose to metaphorically indicate a fragmented mind, I'm sure the characters might all be designed to represent the struggle of person with such a disorder. But clearly, I had no prior knowledge of this and all I came out of the flick was watching stereotypical characters: the heroic dude, the girl in distress, the wacko lady, the subordinate henchmen, the buddy, the evil scientist. There are some scenes that reflect a light vs dark feeling but I could just be reading way to much into that.
Kenneyville is a bit of a drag with scenes of prolonged filler, appetizers to a nonexistent meal. It nibbles on something interesting but never takes that one satisfying bite. The director mentioned: "It is a fictional, fantasy world in which many of the characters, events, sets, and production design represent various stages and elements of transitioning from feeling “normal" to having the world become emotionally paralyzing"
A movie like Identity (starring John Cusack) is similar to this but goes Hollywood generic. But somehow it's straightforwardness of a murder mystery with a twist is more effective and the typical viewer "gets it". With Kenneyville, I can only take it as subtle and I "didn't get it". All I saw were the alluring white slavery angle, redneck Canadian town and an X-File that never got solved.
Not many movies deal with a subject matter like this. Kenneyville is ambitious in that way but when you're making a horror movie, one can only be as simple minded to a simpleton like me. I'm not as you say totally normal, but I pretend to be one.
Was that an impromptu happy ending?
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
I was provided a screener from the producers of Kenneyville. Want a different review? Check out 28 Days Later Analysis review of the film.
Check out the trailer.