Murder 101 (2014)

*. I’m not sure what they were thinking. On the most basic level it’s a slasher flick, complete with a slaughter of co-eds at a sleepover. But there are no good kills and indeed there’s no gore at all aside from the bodies discovered with the killer’s signature version of the Glasgow smile.
*. It’s also a kind of psychological thriller along the giallo model, but the story bumps along so clumsily that there’s no keeping track of the red herrings and the final explanation of who the killer is, and his motivations, is so baffling that I’ll confess I completely failed to understand it.
*. Perhaps a second viewing would clear things up a bit, but that’s not something I want to do. The pacing is slow, the dialogue stiff and the whole thing rather dull. A sense of humour might have helped, but I don’t think it’s meant to be a comedy. Or, for that matter, as a kind of meta-horror film along the lines of Scream or Behind the Mask. Sure most of the characters are laughable, but I don’t think they’re meant to be laughable. When the kids start to question whether the cute new criminology professor is really a professor, it’s absurd. But then you realize that he doesn’t act like any professor you’ve ever seen, so maybe he isn’t. And as for the FBI agent . . . does he even exist? This is just one of the questions I was left with at the end.
*. I try to come up with something nice to say about every movie I watch, but it’s hard for this one. I suppose what sticks in my mind the most is how confusing it all is. The killer (or at least one of them) quotes chunks of Hamlet apropos of absolutely nothing. Characters pop up out of nowhere and then disappear. The twist (or at least one of the twists) at the end introduces a superfluous hint of incest. Instead of wrapping things up, the final scene just adds another layer of mystification without explaining anything. The experience is a bit surreal. But not in a pleasant way.

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