Review: Secrets Are Deadly and Irony Runs Deep in ‘Killer Concept’

5 Min Read

The latest horror comedy film from the team that brought you the deadly rideshare adventure Driven has finally arrived. Written by Casey Dillard and directed by Glenn Payne, Killer Concept follows a team of three creatives — Seth (Coley Bryant), Holly (Dillard), and Mark (Payne) — as they work on a screenplay based on a series of murders in their town. However, unbeknownst to the other two, one of them may perhaps be a bit too close to the real story.

Despite the challenges of the past year — especially in the film and television industry — Killer Concept turned out to be an impressive quarantine project that was pulled off with a very small cast and crew and a budget of just $900.

Going into Killer Concept, it’s important to keep in mind that there was no actual script, just improvised dialogue. Thus, in watching the interactions between the main trio, you can better appreciate the way that Dillard, Payne, and Bryant are able to play off of one another as the story develops and the stakes grow higher. Payne and Bryant’s characters in particular function well as opposites, what with Seth’s keen, eccentric attitude and Mark’s peculiar, reserved approach. Meanwhile, Dillard’s Holly serves as both an important bridge between both and the sensible, grounded one of the group.

Dead Leaf Production

While the team dives deeper into planning their screenplay, Mark finds himself in over his head as he’s forced to contend with his crush on Holly, his subsequent jealousy toward Seth, and his unfortunate need to weigh in with disturbingly accurate plot suggestions — ones that Holly and Seth are none the wiser to. Thus, Payne gives off an appropriately unnerving vibe whilst his character begins to unravel, having bitten off far more than he can chew by the time the film reaches its final act (one with a necessarily dark and brilliant twist — because you certainly can’t tie something like this off with a neat, innocent little bow).

Fans of Driven will appreciate that Killer Concept is yet another film of Dillard and Payne’s that absolutely shines in its outdoor nighttime scenes. The crew utilizes the light available to them in an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing way, and paired with the wide, sweeping cinematography, these shots have a distinct, open atmosphere to them. This gives the viewer the feeling of stepping inside of the scenes, rather than being on the outside looking in, and it further adds to the ominous and foreboding nature of the film.

Dead Leaf Production

In addition to the above, the use of color within the aforementioned lighting, slick scene transitions, and adept, visually stimulating camera work all ultimately round out this production to create a darkly enjoyable ride, riddled with tension and mystery throughout. Quarantine, limited crew members, and minimal budgets be damned, the creative minds behind Killer Concept tapped into their filmmaking strengths to ultimately create a fun, intriguing, and well-produced horror flick. And it serves as a reminder that beyond the glitz and glam of the spotlight that shines down on Hollywood’s biggest, hottest hits, sometimes all that you really need is a talented team … and a killer concept.

Killer Concept is now available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video and VOD.

Make sure to join Nerds and Beyond this weekend for Festival and Beyond, as Glenn Payne and Casey Dillard will be joining us on Saturday afternoon to discuss Killer Concept! More info on Festival and Beyond can be found here.

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By Lindsey
Lindsey joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. She has spent a large portion of her life dedicated to her first love, photography. When she's not behind the camera, she's likely reading books and comics or dabbling in creative writing. Otherwise, she's probably yelling about Star Wars, Marvel, anime, or Ted Lasso. Contact:
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