Dolph Rides Again – A Review of Don’t Kill It
When a small Mississippi town is plagued by a murderous body-hopping evil entity, their only chance of survival comes in the form of Jebediah Woodley (Dolph Lundgren), a hardened, old demon hunter who has a history with the entity. Partnering with skeptical FBI agent Evelyn Pierce (Kristina Klebe), Jebediah is determined to take it down once and for all. There’s just one catch – the entity hops from host to host by being killed; to kill it is to become it. Jebediah has a plan to contain the entity, if only he can get close enough without being killed himself.
Don’t Kill It is big, dumb, loud, and fun entertainment anchored by Dolph Lundgren’s undeniable charisma. He embodies Jebediah Woodley as though he’s played the character for years (and there’s certainly enough world-building and mythology to allow for a whole series of adventures for the demon hunter). Like Ash from The Evil Dead with his shotgun, Jebediah has an instantly iconic weapon of choice, an over-sized ‘net’ gun capable of knocking its target of their feet and ensnaring them in its netting. With the gun over his shoulder, Jebediah saunters from scene to scene in a clothing seemingly swiped from Mickey Rourke’s closet. He’s physically imposing, but knowingly can come off as an old coot trying to explain the supernatural goings-on. The film itself, Lundgren isn’t taking himself too seriously, which makes the whole weird thing work.
Operating on a small budget, director Mike Mendez has crafted a lean and effective B-movie throwback. He keeps things moving at a brisk pace, even when there are heavy exposition dumps by Jebediah, including an explanation for how the entity got loose which certainly could have been a showstopping opening and introduction to Jebediah if the film had a significantly larger budget. The body-hopping entity has a sufficient intensity, defined by its black eyes, a shriek like Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and a pulsing-pounding musical cue the repeats with every attack. The violence is over-the-top, capable of inducing both gasps and laughter. To it’s credit, this is a horror film I could show friends who don’t like horror, because it’s just so much fun. For tongue-in-cheek schlocky escapism, you can’t do better than Don’t Kill It.