SXSW Film review: ‘Kill Me Please’

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“Kill Me Please” is gorgeous.

It’s a slow-burn teenage slasher flick, where most of the action takes place off-screen, creating an electric tension throughout.

Bia, the protagonist, is a 15-year-old girl living in Barra da Tijuca, in the West Side Zone of Rio de Janeiro, and she has a near-brush with death. A killer is stalking the streets, murdering and raping girls and boys around Bia’s age and dumping them in the abandoned field by her apartment.

I can’t help but see parallels with what is happening just south of here in Mexico  with the “missing” girls and young women.

“Kill Me Please” is sexy, with a cold and frightening look, the tone of “Twin Peaks” with the ambiance and mood of a Bret Easton Ellis novel, circa “Less Than Zero” and “The Informers” (sans cocaine). Think Instagram images with maybe Amaro, Sierra or Brannan filters.

The main group of girls in the film, Bia’s classmates and friends, are actually 14 through 17, and this casting choice lends a frightening realism to an otherwise highly stylized vignette of heightened reality.

Sex and Catholicism figure heavily in “Kill Me Please,” a lustful and curious teenage passion contrasted with a pop-Catholicism that uses sex and pop-music to push its image.

The soundtrack to their increasingly morbid  lives sounds like Latin hip-hop, boy band anthems and Brazilian dance music. This creates a kinetic pulse in an otherwise calm mise-en-scene — also a clever contrast.

I can’t say “Kill Me Please” is breaking completely new ground, but it feels and looks intensely original.

You can catch “Kill Me Please” at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Alamo Ritz and at 9 p.m Friday at the Alamo South.


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