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Review: Apocalypse Kiss

apocalypsekissartworkFinally the wait for Apocalypse Kiss is over! And that’s basically all I have to say before I jump right into this review.

Apocalypse Kiss is written and directed by Potent Media’s Christian Jude Grillo, who previously delivered the sadistic Deer Crossing feature to movie viewers. Main cast members include Carmela Hayslett (Eliza’s Diary, Death Follows), Playboy model Tammy Jean, D.C. Douglas (Resident Evil 5, “The Bold & The Beautiful”), iconic cult director Lloyd Kaufman, and Tom Detrik . This title also features appearances from Karen Scioli (“Saturday Night Dead”), Tom Atkins (Halloween 3, The Fog), Michael Berryman (Weird Science, The Devil’s Rejects), and Aimee Cassada.

“In this futuristic science fiction thriller, government security agent Jerry Hipple has been unsuccessfully tracking the city’s most infamous criminal The Red Harvest Killer. When two nomadic lovers, Katia and Gladys, enter the city the death count rises and they start being credited as Red Harvest killings. Obsessive compulsive Adrian, the actual Red Harvest Killer becomes furious that the sexy serial killing duo are grabbing media attention under his alias. Not only does Adrian attempt to reclaim his rightful reputation but he also decides to cleverly aid his detective counterpart through the case. All the while, killers and victims alike are unaware the world is about to reach an abrupt catastrophic ending.”

Let me start with what I didn’t like, just so I can get it out of the way. Maybe I only see what I want to see, but I was under the impression that Apocalypse Kiss was going to be an absolutely perfect mix of thrilling elements and science fiction. However, after viewing the movie I can’t help but feel like the apocalypse aspect of the movie is only an after thought. The film primarily focuses on the deteriorating relationship between Katia and Gladys as well as Adrian’s musings over being famous AND losing fame to others. And that’s how it should be! That is clearly the central plot of the movie. I was just under the impression that the end of the world part of the story was going to be much more than a minor subplot. The film is set in the future, so obviously technology will be more advanced, but I wouldn’t necessarily consider that science fiction. I’d consider this a horror-drama if anything.

Also, to be fair, midway through the movie I began to lose interest. That was quickly turned around, but I do have to mention the non-violent, non-developing scenes are sometimes a pace behind my taste.

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Now let’s move on to what I did like.

First of all, without even seeing Film Craze’s review of Apocalypse Kiss, we both noted that the film is reminiscent of Blade Runner, a completely iconic masterpiece in its own right. In the same little kind of bubble, I’d also compare Apocalypse Kiss to Repo: The Genetic Opera. The films are so similar on their take of the atmosphere in the not-so-distant future. It’s not a very positive one, even if you subtract a planet about to smash into the earth, killer robots, and a government who steals your organs. I think out of everything present in this movie, I was most blown away by the amount of effort put into developing a fully recognized vision of the future; technology, culture, government, clothes, classes, etc. Apocalypse Kiss is one of the most cohesive pieces of cinema in terms of mapping out a territory you want to see and making it an actual, almost palpable reality. It’s a master-class in progressive film writing, people.

Another thing that really bogged my mind is what Christian Jude Grillo was able to piece together on the budget he was holding. From what I know about this production behind the scenes, it’s absolutely amazing to me that so much was accomplished. Grillo and Potent Media have always churned out remarkably professional looking films including Eliza’s Diary, Death Follows, and Deer Crossing. Apocalypse Kiss has really set the bar for other independent film makers who are out there. Creative and innovate techniques and a genius behind the camera? You can’t go wrong here. I think that this title is going to put Grillo on the map and make distribution deals a lot easier in the future. My god. Why is Grillo still producing indie features? His work is better than a lot of other directors in the game.

The caliber of the cast assembled here is impressive too. Carmela Hayslett, a horror hostess turned full fledged actress, stretches her acting chops here and does not disappoint. Lloyd Kaufman is a legend behind the camera and this film is a shining example of his skills in front of one. D.C. Douglas and Michael Berryman are A-list talent in their own genres and have had parts in some of the greatest franchises in the world. Karen Scioli makes a triumphant return to acting. Really, every single cast member – even the bit parts – pulled off an above average performance and I give them all a round of applause. You can have a great concept, a great director, and everything else in line, but if your cast isn’t capable then the production will crumble. The cast is seriously what makes or breaks this movie and I’m happy to say their realistic deliveries boosted the value of this movie.

Aside from my two little gripes, Apocalypse Kiss was well worth the wait! I give it a 7.8 out of 10 stars. Good job, guys!

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)