When I discovered that Trent Haaga was premiering a “punk-rock romantic comedy” film at SXSW Conferences and Festivals this year, I immediately added it to my must-watch list. Thank god I did. I expected 68 Kill to be a crazy ride, but it quickly surpassed that expectation and kept on going.The film follows Chip (Matthew Gray Gubler) and his gorgeous, yet psycho, girlfriend Liza (AnnaLynne McCord). In need of rent money, Liza sees her sugar daddy, Ken (David Maldonado), for sex and discovers that he has $68,000 in a safe. She convinces Chip that it would be an easy taking, so the couple breaks into the house to steal it. Things go horribly, brutally wrong and Chip realizes how demented Liza really is. When Ken’s sex slave, Violet (Alisha Boe), catches Chip and Liza at the house, she’s forced to come along for the bizarre and sadistic events that follow.Matthew Gray Gubler is an actor that I always look forward to seeing in film and TV. Although he has played the beloved Dr. Spencer Reid on Criminal Minds since 2005, it’s great to see that he hasn’t been typecast. In fact, here we’re reminded of what a versatile actor Gubler really is. Chip starts out sweet and naive, with his attraction to beautiful women clouding his judgement in the worst ways. However, he evolves from Liza’s literal punching bag to gunning people down while wearing women’s clothing for survival. With that being said, 68 Kill is dominated by the women. I certainly didn’t expect that angle when we are first introduced to Liza, especially since I kind of hated her during the opening scenes. Once the home invasion started and she showed her true(er) colors, my feelings quickly switched to love. She was crazy to the max, but ended up being a complete badass in her own right. McCord fully owned the character, making Liza a bit too believable.
Sheila Vand, who had a standout performance in 2014’s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, played the sadistic Monica. She quickly picks up where Liza left off, unfortunately for Chip. Both Liza and Monica are officially two of my favorite female villains in recent years. Stuck in the middle, like a little ray of sunshine, was Violet. The only main female not to be psychotic, she influenced Chip from the get-go and was the only person throughout the entire film to give him hope. The ladies were definitely the driving force, which was refreshing. Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence that Chip only managed to take matters into his own hands once he wore women’s clothing… hmmm.
68 Kill isn’t going to be for everyone, especially if you’re sensitive to extreme violence, but my inner gorehound loved every minute. The film was adapted from a book of the same name by Bryan Smith. If you’re interested, you can check it out on Amazon here. I know I will!