Despite the novelty of Dolph Lundgren playing a demon hunter in the American south, the idea of Don’t Kill It initially wasn’t all that appealing to me. Let me then start off by saying, “don’t let the all too familiar photoshopped dvd cover art fool you, Don’t Kill It is not only a worthwhile find amidst the troves of bad DTV horror, but it serves up an undeniable perverse charm that makes it downright recommendable to fellow horror fans.
The movie opens with a hunter and his dog in the woods. The hunter trying to net himself a deer, misses and proceeds to look for his dog which abruptly runs off, presumably on a hunt of his own finding a small, ornate coffer in the forest and standing mesmerized by its invisible contents, only to snap out of its trance long enough to attack its owner.
This opener is more of a gunshot than an introduction as it signals the start of the movie’s fast-ahead, breakneck dash to crazy. You see, Don’t Kill It’s main antagonist is a parasitic demon, fueled by a desire to hurt, maim and murder, that jumps to a new host every time the body it’s currently occupying dies. This little plot device serves the film well as the maniacal glee that the demon takes in doing this is particularly contagious and for those of us with a dark sense of humor, well, it really is a delightful little roller coaster once it starts shaking the tracks.
DKI is the accidental exploitation movie that works on the premise that it entertains not trying to be an exploitation movie per se, but that it’s just a whole helluva lot of fun. Lundgren, who has always been a serviceable actor has never really taken me as charismatic. He truly shines here though and delivers a performance creating a character that is all at once, out of touch, cantankerous, socially inept and yet highly watchable. Lundgren, playing demon hunter Jebediah Woodley turns in maybe one of his better career moments managing to play a character that actually feels like a character and not just the the personification of Lundgren’s usual muscly bravado.
The acting here overall is better than most VOD faire and its characters are written with enough humor and small town idiosyncrasies that there are numerous times that the film feels much bigger than its budget. This is no better exemplified than when the villain takes the reigns and Don’t Kill It really aims for the stars. These stars are usually bathed in a heaping helping of the red stuff thanks to director Mike Mendez, and it really delivers in spades. In, fact, Don’t Kill It is so adept at the perversity of its madcap horror moments that it transcends memorable and gives us scenes that are truly horror-camp hall of fame worthy. A tip to those who don’t share my enthusiasm after the first five minutes: fast-forward to the town hall meeting and you won’t have to remind me to tell you “I told you so”.