2013’s “Chill” has been released yet, but the indie horror hopes to change that in 2015. “Chill is directed by Noelle Bye, Roger Conners, and Meredith Holland. The film stars Roger Conners, Kelly Rogers, Brad Arner, DJ Remark, Jason Orr, Angelia DeLuca, David Gilmore, Mike Kafury, Erinn Bakun, Ash Katt, Janine Bowles Sarnowski, Theresa Pedone, and Rick Montgomery Jr. I truly hope this one gets a distribution deal in 2015 because it is a worthy micro-budget effort with some real blood splatter moments.
The story revolves around the tragic deaths of a group of college students found dead after participating in a role playing game called “Chill”. The original horror took place in 1988, and our film picks up as a new group decide to revive the game on the anniversary. First, the object of Chill (the game) is for everyone to draw a slip of paper from a jar after a séance kicks things off. One will be the killer and the others will run and hide. No one knows who the rest are, killer or victim-in-waiting. I have to say I love this game idea. It brings back a feeling I got from watching a little known 80’s role playing horror film titled “Tag: The Assassination Game”.
Now the main plot to “Chill” (the movie) has a new group of students playing the game on the anniversary, falling victim to a very real killer, and refueling the horror that plagues the community surrounding the college. There are some slightly weak moments in the story arch, during some of the dialog that solidifies the story feel contrived and not as convincing as other aspects of the story arc. It gets shaky at times, but lets face it, the concept is a gamble. It requires an acceptance of fancy and more whimsical notions of horror story telling-much as nearly every horror film in the 80’s demanded. Which is the exact feel and style that “Chill” is going for in this tale.
The special effects and masked killer design is key, shining moments for “Chill”. The horror elements are dark, homages to classic horror, and very effective. The quality is a step above the low budget quality of the dramatic aspects that counter this movie’s theme. There is plenty of bloodshed, gore, and dark shadowing settings to really show the passion of the film makers for horror. Oh and most importantly-the scenes work. Due to cleverly crafted choices and camera angles the kill/death scenes stand out in “Chill” as quality moments. The killer is masked, hardly scene, until it is too late, intimidating and apparition like. The Dark Ages style of macaw mask and garb reminiscent of plague doctors make for a great horror movie slasher.
“Chill” does have some sound quality issues in scenes that are at the mercy of the crews elements. The mic picks up air and echos in some scenes, not totally overpowering the dialog but it is noticeable, The sound quality issues are 50/50 in the film, there are some nice moments when the crew has control, allowing for some decent character interaction and humorous one-liner moments. Some actors are more comfortable on screen than others, giving stronger performances, but the atmosphere and build-up of suspense never completely faulters in “Chill”. The music score and soundtrack are nice, and the sound quality stays intact in that respect. The score is a mix of classic giallo and American splatter films of the 80’s.
“Chill” isn’t gonna be a film that everyone will enjoy, but indie and micro-budget fans will see the quality moments as true, honest horror that works. The pace is a bit clunky at the beginning of the film, but within 20-25 minutes things pick up and “Chill” moves more like a slasher film should. Overall, the story creates a nice contemporary horror tale that begs of urban legend. The kills and gore show true talent and passion for horror, and the killer is captivating. The ending is a nice surprise ending that really caught me off guard. Very reminiscent of Argento’s style of ending a story. “Chill” has some flaws but there is enough of a good horror film here to warrant seeing the film.