Benny Loves Killing is an intriguing psychological drama from UK based writer director Ben Woodiwiss and Look/Think Films. Billed by some festivals as a horror film (and lest we forget to mention winning some awards as such) it doesn’t comfortably fit into any genre, what it does do though is serve as something of a meta film and in places a deconstruction of the horror genre itself.
The film focuses on the life of student filmmaker Benny, a young woman determined to make a horror film despite studying a theory based course and putting her funding at risk. This isn’t the end of her problems though, throughout the film she becomes increasingly more dependent on drugs and alienates the people close to her. The horror film she is making seems to act as an outlet for her issues and whilst undoubtedly a tough individual to like it’s the fantastic performance of Pauline Cousty as the titular character that makes this film a very intriguing watch. To be fair all of the cast are on top form here but it is the lead performance that really stands out.
Visually the film looks fantastic, with great use of colour throughout. Having only seen this film the once so far, this reviewer is fairly sure more subtle flourishes will come to light in repeat viewings. A stand out moment the first time round includes the use of the blonde wig that makes Benny feel more powerful, an interesting point for those aware of the unfortunate fate that usually befalls blondes within horror cinema. The film is also shot using the conventions raised by Benny whilst directing her own film and this further goes to highlight the talent and knowledge of Woodiwiss and his team of the genre they are deconstructing. It’s not all plain sailing though there is a slight problem with the dream sequences, whilst effectively shot and atmospheric they don’t seem to gel particularly well with the rest of the narrative, it’s a minor gripe though and doesn’t harm the film as a whole.
A word of warning though, it’s a film that makes very little effort to be accessible to those without some kind of academic film knowledge or filmmaking experience. Without a doubt this film will not be to everyone’s taste. Looking at the Look/Think Films manifesto then this is unlikely to be an accident, it’s not meant to be easily accessible and demands thought. In some ways this film could be taken as an art house equivalent to The Cabin in the Woods, which also takes apart the horror genre piece by piece.
Overall it is a film that doesn’t do a lot wrong. It’s not an easy watch at times and does demand your attention but overall utterly worth it and a great calling card for Ben Woodiwiss.
More information about the film (including a trailer) can be found here.