“Killer Friends” (2015): Insults Lead to More Than Just Injury in Humorous Horror Short


Crass, boorish, insult-slinging Scott (played by writer/director Zach Noe Towers) is such a pain to his friends that they want to kill him – quite literally – in the horror comedy short Killer Friends. The short blends rapid-fire sass slinging and Looney Tunes-style physical comedy with its tale of attempted and reattempted murder.

Scott’s roomate Jill (Jenna-Lee Carreiro) has decided that it is easier to kill Scott to get him out of her hair than to tell him to move out. Her boyfriend Bryan (Dave Racki) supports her decision, even though he finds it excessive. They talk mutual friend Heather (Peggy Sinnot) – the perpetual butt of Scott’s fat jokes, though she isn’t overweight – into joining them in the deed. She is reluctant but she eventually acquiesces. The foursome go for a camping trip and – well, the rest would be telling. I can say that Scott gives the friends plenty of material to make them feel justified in what they plan to do.

Jill (Jenna-Lee Carreiro, front right) and her boyfriend Bryan (Dave Racki, front left) have recruited their friend Heather (Peggy Sinnot, rear right) to help kill troublesome Scott (Zach Noe Towers, rear left) in the horror comedy short Killer Friends. Photo © Towers.

Though the entire cast does a fine job and all of the actors play off one another wonderfully, Killer Friends is a showcase for comedian Zach Noe Towers. His character Scott is a villain who hurts with his words, spilling secrets and running down those who are closest to him. Towers plays Scott with a relentless manic energy, accompanying his verbal barbs with amusing facial expressions and body language. Towers’ screenplay is a hoot, as well. Jenna-Lee Carreiro as Scott’s long-suffering roommate Jill is terrific as his main foil, going from determined to seething during the course of the short. Dave Racki as Bryan shows himself equally adept at funny facial expressions and pratfalls. Peggy Sinnot is brilliant  as Heather; she gets to show off the widest range of emotions of the four characters and has a natural comic charm.

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Jill (Jenna-Lee Carreiro, left) and Bryan (Dave Racki, right) learn the hard way that killing their roommate Scott is no easy feat.

Zach Noe Towers does a solid job behind the camera as well as in front of it, pacing the proceedings well and skillfully framing shots. James Sielaff does a splendid job on cinematography, and Jasha Klebe’s score  is delightful. My favorite musical touch is an organ flourish that brings to mind classic horror movies of yesteryear.

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Killer Friends writer and director Zach Noe Towers also stars as insult-hurling Scott. Photo © Tina Carbone.

The focus of Killer Friends is more on laughs than scares but the tension builds well as the friends try to make their plan come to deadly fruition. Currently making the festival rounds, this short is well worth seeking out when it heads your way.

Killer Friends: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.