KILLER BOOK CLUB
A.k.a. El Club de Los Lectores Criminales
Director: Carlos Alonso Ojea / Writer: Carlos Garcia Miranda / Cast: Veki Velilla, Álvaro Mel, Priscilla Delgado, Iván Pellicer, Hamza Zaidi, María Cerezuela, Ane Rot, Carlos Alcaide, Daniel Grao.
Body Count: 8
Six years after a girl burns her mother to death in a pile of torn up books, eight teens who form a college book club engage in a revenge prank against a skeezy professor. After assaulting shy writer Angela in his office, her friends decide a little payback is in order and, having just finished a bool about coulrophobia – fear of clowns – purchase seven identical costumes and scare the crap out of the guy.
Of course, teen pranks never end well, and one of the masked clowns slashes his face, causing him to tumble over a balustrade and become impaled on the university’s statue of Don Quixote. In true Southport style, they swear secrecy, burn the costumes, and become depressed.
Soon after, each of the group receive invitations to read an unfolding new novel on a fan fiction, detailing the clown’s revenge on them, casting each in a standard horror role, and publishing a new chapter to coincide with each murder: The clown comes equipped with a blade-ended hammer doodad, which he uses to slash and impale his quarry.
For a script about creating literature, there is literally nothing unexpected in this Netflix original, which owes a truckload of gratitude to the recent Scream movies, all the while stapling them to the standard Prom Night / I Know What You Did Last Summer / Sorority Row secrets-never-stay-secret opus, and occurring on Urban Legend‘s campus.
There are, however, several good chase sequences, the best being around the botanical gardens, culminating with Angela hammering against the doors while one of her friends is stuck on the other side, loon approaching.
Everything else balances precariously on coincidence: A horror themed book fair where dozens of attendees wear the same clown costume, characters deciding to pack up and leave campus in the middle of the night and go wait at a secluded bus stop, others falling for clearly bogus texts that lure them into weird inescapable places.
Killer Book Club is colourful though (sans Angela’s heinous green sweater/dungarees combo), with nice sets and the always-refreshing alt-perspective of its European setting, adequately bloody, and while a significant part of the revelation was entirely obvious, there was a part that I genuinely didn’t see coming, so extra points for that, even though it made sense in hindsight.
Go in with your expectations in the basement and you’ll get some mileage out of this loveletter to 90s teen horror.
Blurb-of-interest: Daniel Grao was in Julia’s Eyes.