Sure, you can hire an Italian Robert Pattinson look-alike as your “recruiter/groomer” for “undead” fresh blood in your “Romeo & Juliet rise from the grave” romantic thriller. Doesn’t mean you have to lay on the fairy dust glitter and what not.
It took only one of the six screenwriters lined up for “Don’t Kill Me” to come up with a new hybrid vampire/zombie brand for those who can’t be killed without a lot of extra effort. Six writers and one of them said, “Let’s call them the ‘Overdead'” and thus earn his or her stipend.
This Italian thriller, more gory than thrilling, is about a virginal teen Mirta (Alice Pagani) who hooks up with the brooding, R-Pattsy “bad boy” (Rocco Fasano). She almost instantly has buyer’s remorse when he talks into ingesting something of a black-tar nature through eyedrops, and rocks her world with the only sex she’s ever had.
Because that puts both of them in coffins, Montague and Capulet style. Only she’s the one who wakes up, sees her eyes turn into huge black pupiled orbs, her fingers into witchy gnarls and her tastes turn toward human flesh.
“I imagine you’re familiar with the tastier parts of the body,” her first interpreter of “overdead” life (Silvia Calderoni) tells young Mirta, who has been stumbling about, avenging herself on married club-stalking predators and her father’s lusty choice for a housekeeper.
What works are the introductory chapters to this slow-walking thriller from a hack grandson of Vittorio De Sica. We see reckless teens GTIing the twisty roads of the Dolomites of Northern Italy, him speeding like a demon, her desperately trying to shout out directions so that he doesn’t run them off a cliff or into an oncoming truck. We hear the dare, her efforts to get her “junky” beau off whatever it is that he’s cooking in a spoon and dribbling into his eyes.
And we see the corpses after she joins him in the grave after taking that dare. Stay off drugs, kids! And vampires who describe themselves as zombies!
What’s most fascinating are Mirta’s struggling first few days of taking stock of her ability to kick open a tomb and rejoin “life” on Earth. She’s seeing horrific changes to her eyes, her gnarled, Nosferatu fingers, and to her appetites.
Where is her companion in death? Without him she has no reason for all she’s sacrificed, no guide. For now.
Like a lot of horror movies about the undead, “Don’t Kill Me” bogs down in all the exposition/history of the overdead and those who hunt them, the Benandanti. Yeah, they’re some sort of silencer-pistol-armed Catholic cult. Kind of explains Scalia’s death at a shooting club, doesn’t it? You can’t waste too much time on stuff like this in an 95 minute movie.
There’s little logic to trying to make the impossible logical, and De Sica’s six screenwriters don’t put much effort into that. We see Mirta protected and even over-protected from the first approach of the “bad boys,” only to have that big-sisterly protector abruptly bail on her the minute they walk into a club that’s a bit young and unruly for her tastes.
Nothing that follows makes much more sense than that.
Rating: TV-MA, graphic violence, sex, nudity
Cast: Alice Pagani, Rocco Fasano, Silvia
Calderoni, Fabrizio Ferracane, Sergia Albelli and Giacomo Ferrara.
Credits Directed by Andrea De Sica, scripted by Chiara Palazzolo, Gianni Romoli, Antonio Le Fosse, Giacomo Mazzariol, Marco Raspanti, Eleonora Trucchi. A Warner Brothers release on Netflix.
Running time: 1:35