Saturday 28 July 2012

How to Kill Your Clone (2011)

Director: Jack McWilliams
Stars: Jamie Kaler, Joseph Culliton and Sasha Feiler
This film was an official selection at the 8th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Scottsdale in 2012. Here's an index to my reviews of 2012 films.
While Y Sci Fi was a political message, How to Kill Your Clone is a commercial one, albeit fictional right now. With current advances in science, how long will that remain the case? Well, this short advertising pitch from Clone Killer Corporation aims to take the future into the past. Everything here is done up to seem old school, from the aging effects to make it look like a worn 35mm reel to the wooden corporate spokesman and his mismatched suit. It's like we're back in the fifties, but an alternate universe fifties where clones are an everyday reality for us all. Our spokesman, Larry, takes us into that reality by showing us lots of Dicks. No, I don't think that was accidental either. Dick has been cloned a number of times and he thinks it's great. For a while. After all, he can sit back and enjoy being waited on by his wife while his clones are doing his job and fixing his car; but soon they're doing his best girl and fixing his demise. Always a catch, huh?

And that's where Clone Killer Corporation comes in. The name is self explanatory and as long as you get to them first, they'll never accept business from your clone. I really like that little touch. I like a lot of the little touches that quickly unfold as Dick and his clones act out the scenarios that will send you rushing to Clone Killer Corporation with chequebook in hand. How to Kill Your Clone runs a mere five minutes but it's a frantic five minutes that keeps us on the hop as much as Dick. Poor Dick! Every time he turns round, his retro-futuristic clone-filled life has taken another turn for the worse because he doesn't know the tricks that Clone Killer Corporation know. If only he'd got to them sooner! Well, thank you, McWilliams Brothers, for sharing this valuable information. Now we can be sure that when one of our clones shows that little defect, that little personality quirk, we know exactly where to go to fix the problem. Blammo! Get them before they get you!
It's easy to slip into advertising lingo because the tone of the film and its fast pace bore into your brain, lay down foundations and set up shop, just like every advertising agent back then wished they could do. Joseph Culliton does a deceptively clever job. Larry feels like a hasbeen, or maybe a never was, who's making a final attempt to pay his rent by hawking a product that might just generate 'original casualties'. That's much trickier to do than it sounds and he nails it. Jamie Kaler has it even tougher because he doesn't only have to play a character called Dick, he has to play a whole bunch of characters called Dick, all of whom are slightly, if not wildly, different from each other. He's on screen a couple of times at once for much of the picture. Jack McWilliams directed and Ed McWilliams wrote, but maybe that's a Coen Brothers trick and they both did both. Either way, there are flaws here but they hide them well by not allowing us time to blink.

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