Benny Loves Killing

03/04/2014 20:57

Horror films have a profound effect on people. There are some who refuse to watch them. Others who lavish at them. Some who sit on the fence and enjoy (or not enjoy) both sides of the genre. Horror is a popular genre and people have been affected by it in different ways. This could be being kept up at night, it could be lavishing in your own fantasies or it could be disgust. Horror, in that sense, is the most lucrative and the most perverse genre, dabbling with psyches, fear and the bloodshed of the mind.

In that sense, we explore one mind impacted by horror in Benny Loves Killing. The titular character is a French Film Student studying film in London. Addicted to cocaine and living with a terror of a woman, she seeks solace in other places. Mainly in the comfort of developing her own horror flick, a dream that she has wanted for as long as she can remember. However, the pressures of her studies, her lack of connection to anyone and her family problems as well as a drug use means her brain is starting to crack and it begins to show in her day to day life.

One of the strengths of Benny Loves Killing is our lead Pauline Cousty who is a wonderful strong character actress. She could say nothing but face herself in a mirror and her eyes will light with the stories of her past. So deftly does Cousty portray a woman on the brink of sanity and using whatever crux she can find to power through. Sometimes, she makes bad decisions and a lot of the times she is heinously unlikeable. But Cousty never lets you forget that she is ultimately human, navigating the horrors and demons of herself. In it, we follow her as a victim of her past, the world around her and a woman powering through and trying to express herself by any way possible.  

A lot of this is movie revolves around horror and its impact on movies. It never once takes the stance that horror impacts violence or degradation. While it does address the misogyny in horror and clichés, it still addresses that this may have appeal to women and female filmmakers. Benny’s view point of horror is intellectually put through the movie and her solace in it has a better effect than her drugs; rather than an adverse one (despite the dream sequences). The drama is poignant and Woodiwiss has developed it greatly.

This isn’t a perfect film and certainly isn’t a horror movie in the general sense. There are long drawn out moments and therefore the pace suffers. Although the movie can be slow, director Ben Woodiwiss makes his first UK Feature a great exercise in the strength of his feminine lead and using tropes and ideas to explain the fundaments of horror. For someone like Benny to be so drawn to the world of thrill and blood, the drama is entrancing and thrilling. More importantly, Woodiwiss adds intriguing camera shots and plot points that he revisits throughout the movie. Ultimately, Benny Loves Killing is an intelligent and incredible piece.