Don’t Kill It thrives on its B-movie bloodlust, a midnight drive-in flick that hits almost all the right schlocky notes. It’s brutal, it’s nihilistic, it’s having a blast firing off bloody squibs on its victims and its star, Dolph Lundgren, feels right at home here. Yet it never really forges any new path in the Joe-Bob Briggs genre of micro-budgeted horror cinema. This one is for the true fans.
Mike Mendez’s film wastes no time getting to the gore. We kick things off with a father, possessed by some sort of mystical orb he finds in the woods, murdering his family before sprinting across the street and laying waste to his unsuspecting neighbors. He is killed by that family’s father, who immediately takes on the possession and begins a murder spree of his own. That’s the gimmick to this demonic possession: the possessed has black eyes and a need to kill anyone and everyone in their sight, but when they are killed the evil spirit transfers to the one who killed its current host. There’s a whole lot of killing here, and we’re only five minutes in!
The murders draw the attention of the FBI, represented here by Evelyn Pierce, who used to live in this small Mississippi town (when she left to be an FBI agent she had to have cut the town’s population by at least 40 percent). There’s some thought that these murders may be terror-related, and the last killer is still on the loose. Pierce and the dopey sheriff try and put the pieces together, but they don’t quite know what they’re dealing with. Enter Lundgren, playing the epically-named Jedediah Woodley.
Jebediah has seen some shit. He knows what’s happening in this town and what needs to be done. Evelyn and the sheriff, clearly suspicious of this giant blonde mystic wearing all the necklaces and talking up demons and possession, decide to lock him up and go about solving this very not-weird-at-all killing spree. It doesn’t take them long to figure out Jebediah may be on to something here, so they spring him from the hoosegow and get tot he business of demon slaying.
Don’t Kill It then becomes your standard demon-hunting schlock fest. Lundgren fits into this world of low-rent, blood-spattered violence as well as anyone who’s traveled this cinematic landscape. The acting is fine, what you would expect, and Mendez’s direction often overcomes its budgetary limitations with some intense music and, eventually, frenetic pacing. Things do take a while to get going, but when they do it’s balls to the wall.
Yet still, there is nothing new here. Don’t Kill It has a gimmick with its demons, which gets the story going, but once it settles into the machinations of the plot it hits all the familiar beats. For fans of the midnight monster flicks, they will find plenty to enjoy here. For anyone else, it may not be worth their time.