Murder Party is a horror/comedy film that was written, directed and shot by Jeremy Saulnier, releasing in 2007. Chris finds an invitation to a Halloween costume party entitled “Murder Party”, on the street. What Chris doesn’t realise is that the theme is more literal than he could ever imagine.
Constructing a knight costume out of cardboard, he makes his way to the party. Once there he discovers it is actually a trap set by a group of deranged art students. They intend to commit a murder as a piece of artwork to impress Alexander. The students hope that they will receive a large arts grant from Alexander. Chris brought along a loaf of pumpkin raisin bread. One of the female art students begins to eat it. She then reveals that she is allergic to non-organic raisins. This causes her to falls over, hit her head and die. The group hides the body out of embarrassment.
Each member of the Murder Party then gives their input on how they will commit the murder. Drugs and alcohol fuel the group as they decide to wait for the witching hour, at which time they will all stab Chris in unison.
Can Chris escape? Check out Murder Party to find out! It takes some unexpected turns.
Firstly, the initial setup is a really cool idea. Chris is shown to be very lonely so deciding to attend the party doesn’t make no sense for him. There’s some highly amusing exchanges/moments between Chris and the students. Proceedings develop slowly, a bit too slowly if I’m honest. You have to sit through long periods of dialogue between Alexander and the students. It drags on a bit and I felt boredom beginning to set in. However, stick with it and things do begin to pick up steam. Translation – The body count rises.
There’s some nasty looking gore on display. One scene in particular sees a guy wearing a wolf mask getting set on fire in an amusing twist of fate. He survives but the rubber mask has melted to his face leaving him in a hideous form. The effects throughout are impressive considering the obvious budgetary limitations. Talking on the limitations, there’s a cheapness to the way in which Murder Party is filmed. At brief moments, I felt like I was watching a student film.
I really liked Chris as a character. He’s not your typical protagonist at all. Chris Sharp does a really good job of portraying Chris as this socially awkward figure. There’s a fantastic moment when Chris shuts himself in a utility cupboard away from the pursuing murderers. It’s full of useful items that could be combined to make some kind of powerful weapon. It makes it seem like Chris is going to burst out with this forged weapon and kick ass. Instead, he’s simply gathered the items in his arms and just throws them into the air as an attempted distraction. It’s hilarious and shows that Chris is just a man. What’s even funnier is that it works.
Also, I really liked the finale. It’s a proper tongue in cheek dig at art and how pretentious it can be. In fact, the entire film is a dig at it. I suppose me finding the art student’s mindless babble boring may have been intentional after all.
Overall, Murder Party has a very simple concept. It never deviates from that idea and attempts to be anything more complex. On the whole, it’s a solid little horror film.
The Final Score - 6/10