[Review] KILLER KITES (2023) Goofy, Silly, and Fun… mostly

There are many subcategories to the Horror Genre: slasher, found footage, splatter, and paranormal, to list a few. Now, thanks to directors Paul Dale and Austin Frosch and their movie Killer Kiters, we can add another: Goofy.

Killer Kites isn’t scary. There isn’t a high body count or a lot of blood sprayed across the wall. There’s demonic possession, but it’s never explored or explained. There is the classic battle of Good versus Evil, with the fate of humanity hanging in the balance, only in a very non-threatening, silly way.

That’s what it isn’t. What Killer Kites ends up being is fun.

The film opens in Berlin 1956, a date so important to the story that they show us twice. A man investigating strange noises in his barn is murdered. We don’t get to see what kills him, but the title card flashes to give us a clue.

What follows is one of the funniest bits in the movie, as the title cards show us how Killer Kites played an essential role in world history, whether it’s the Kennedy Assassination, the lunar landing, or the tracking down and killing of Osama Bin Laden. Through it all, Killer Kites were there. Now they’re back.

It begins when Abby (Manon Pages) is given a mysterious box from her grandfather’s estate. Init is a white kite adorned with the same image found on a piece of heirloom jewelry Abby wears about her neck. She leaves the kite with her conspiracy-obsessed, peanut butter-gobbling brother to learn more about it. Fourteen hours later, the kite killing begins just as he uncovers the mystery.

What follows is a bunch of silliness as Abby and her rag-tag band of killer kite killers fight increasingly inept battles against the kite and its high-flying minions. Directors Dale and Frosch seem less interested in capturing the action than giving their cast plenty of room to be as goofy as possible. Abby attacks the not-so-special effects flying at her like a boxer trying to hit an imaginary speed bag while her coworker, Daniel (Carter Simoneaux), battles the kites with a weed wacker. One guy waves a pair of children’s scissors around while another uses his lighter and an aerosol can to make a DIY flamethrower.

It’s slapstick mayhem, but it doesn’t stop the kites. What they finally end up using to defeat the evil and save the world is so insane that revealing it would spoil the joke. And while it’s about as out there as a world-saving artifact can be, it’s something that many in the audience, mainly English and Sociology majors, will relate to.

While Pages and Simoneaux carry the bulk of the movie, some scene-stealers deserve much credit for making Killer Kites as enjoyable as it is. Zach Lee ups the level of weirdness to 11, playing The Oracle, a character that explains the plot or moves the story along when it gets bogged down in its ridiculousness. His habit of pulling out a half-eaten breakfast sandwich from his pocket to munch on as he pontificates is perfect. And then there’s reporter Brock Peterson (Paul Dale), a man, according to the scroll appearing below his remote broadcasts, has a surprising number of testicles and has some finger paintings he’d like to show you. More than anybody else in the movie, Dale is comfortable in front of the camera, which shows in his performance.

Killer Kites isn’t going to scare you, although getting the theme song stuck in your head is torture. It’s not going to gross you out or give you nightmares. For 67 minutes, though, it can make you laugh at how goofy a movie can get.

  • Killer Kites, John Black
John Black
John Black still remembers his first horror movie, sneaking in to a double-feature of Horror House with Frankie Avalon and a Boris Karloff film he can’t remember the name of but will always remember for giving him his first glimpse of cinematic nudity as one of the actresses moved from the bed to the door without putting on any underwear! (Fond family memory: That glimpse, when discovered by his parents, cased John’s mom to call the theater and yelling at the manager for letting her son see ‘such filth’.) Luckily, John was more impressed by the blood and horror than the bare haunches and quickly became a devotee of the genre.

John has been a professional movie reviewer since 1987, when his first review – of a Robert De Niro film called Angel Heart – appeared in the entertainment section of The Cape Codder newspaper. He’s been writing about film ever since, primarily now as the entertainment editor at Boston Event Guide. Hardly a day goes by when he doesn’t watch at least one movie, which is how he thinks life was meant to be.