Kill Keith seems to have every possible disadvantage going against it. It’s got a limited release; the potential word of mouth spreader – a premiere at the British Horror Film Festival – was cancelled due to technical difficulties; and its headlining cast hardly consists of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. So just why should you hunt down this film and fork over your hard earned coin for it? Well, because doing so will be irrefutably worth it. Touting itself as “Saw meets Richard & Judy” whilst marketing itself off of the Kill Bill iconography; other than the trailer making the film look like it’s going to be one of those “so bad it’s amazing” movies it’s difficult to come up with a reason why you might go into Kill Keith hesitantly.
Popular breakfast show, AM:TV is losing one of its high profile hosts to another show and the search is on for a replacement. During the hunt however, all of the potential candidates – including names such as Tony Blackburn and Joe Pasquale – are being picked off one by one by an unknown assailant. Through all of this, AM:TV runner, Danny (Marc Pickering, Calendar Girls) assumes that his unspoken love, Dawn (Susannah Fielding, 126.96.36.199.), a co-host of AM:TV is being targeted as well and so begins his arduous and fumbling quest to protect and finally proclaim his love for her.
The film’s heavily-meta daytime TV plot pairs remarkably well with the not-so-subtle tongue in cheek nature of its horror and inane surrealism. If nothing, the endlessly contrasting tones and flairs of the film give Kill Keith the feeling of a feature adaptation of Spaced. I’m not saying that the film’s director, Andy Thompson has gone and purged one of television’s greats but he and writers Pete Benson and Tim Major have very similar ideas of how to write stories that hook the audience with non-stop wit, charm and bizarre characters.
Also, given that most of the cast are television personalities and not actors, they do an outstanding job of convincingly playing their part in the bountiful horror and immaculately timed humour that features. Having the chance to hear Joe Pasquale call someone a “minge” and watching snooker extravaganza Jimmy White suffocate on porridge are all the efforts of producer Tim Major enlisting their help as personal favours from their pantomime days – and you couldn’t be more grateful. Over on the professional side, mostly unknowns Susannah Fielding and Marc Pickering bring the obligatory romance and razzle dazzle to the film in a way that could comically rival that of Titanic’s star-crossed lovers, Jack and Rose. Man of the hour, Keith is spoiled rotten with the role of a lifetime; getting to play games such as ‘Cheggers Knocks You Up’ and convincing us all that Swap Shop was definitely not the highlight of his career.
Kill Keith is a very British film. It’s plotted with superb precision and dares itself to be the total opposite of conventional. The C-List cast are an absolute treasure and the film deserves all the attention it can get. Kill Keith is hilarious, horrific and absolutely full-on bonkers. Released on the same day as fabled war film, Immortals, let’s hope that Kill Keith can prove just which of the two is more eternally glorious. Long live Cheggers!