Next (and last) in our little “Netflix Halloween Hangover” mini-round-up we have 2014’s Kristy, a flick that, like Bound For Vengeance, plays upon the “damsel in distress” theme, but unlike it, does so more from the traditional angle of trying to prevent something bad from happening rather than showing us nothing but events that play out well after most of the shit’s already hit the fan (also, like that film, it was added to the Netflix streaming queue with scant hours to go before Halloween itself was over, so I think I can be forgiven for getting this review in a bit “late,” as it were). Care to guess if I liked this one any better?
Anchored by a very strong lead performance from Haley Bennett and the taut, suspenseful direction of Oliver Blackburn, Kristy is an almost unbearably tense affair that, admittedly, takes some time to get going, but really fires on all cylinders once it does, with the “slower” opening act coming in useful at that point insofar as we find that we’ve actually become invested in our heroine as a person rather than a cipher, and therefore her struggle for survival actually matters to us one it’s underway.
That’s a neat trick. More horror directors should try it.
The deal, then, is this : college freshman Justine (Bennett) is a hard-working kid paying her own way through school and therefore has to remain on campus over Thanksgiving break to earn much-needed cash at her part-time gig. Her boyfriend, Aaron (played by Lucas Till) is headed home to visit family, but no matter — she’ll still have roommate Nicole (Erica Ash) around to keep her company. Wait, though — Nicole just got a last-minute invitation from her well-to-do father to join him in Aspen for the holiday, so it looks like Justine’s gonna have to fly solo, after all. Her temporarily-reduced social status sees her having to stock up on supplies at a convenience store late one evening when it turns out that every place else in town is closed, and there she makes the unwelcome acquaintance of a young lady named Violet (Ashley Green) , who graduates from talking cryptic to being downright threatening within the space of a few short minutes. To say that this encounter leaves our protagonist feeling a bit shaken is an understatement of fairly massive proportions.
Tell you what, though, if you think she’s scared now, wait until she finds out that Violet has tailed her back to her empty-as-a-tomb dorm, complete with three masked men in tow, and that they’re all members of some kind of wannabe-Satanic cult that just so happens to be in the market for young, tender flesh to either corrupt, sacrifice, or maybe even both —
This is definitely one you want to see, friends. And you might even want to go all old-school and turn the lights out and shit. Screenwriter Anthony Jaswinski’s script is sparse but solid and in the capable hands of Blackburn, the right notes are hit at precisely the right times. If you want good, edge-of-your-seat stuff — and who doesn’t? — then you’re in fora real treat here. There’s intrigue, danger, genuine scares, and the setting is used to maximum effect. No trickery or gimmickery here, just “Horror Movie 101” fundamentals the way they’re supposed to be, and while there’s plenty more I could give away about Kristy — including the significance of the title — I’m just going to shut up and let you get to it. After all, why read about it when you could actually be watching it instead?