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April 15, 2021

Attack of the Killer Donuts (2017) Movie Review

Excuse me, ma’am, are you authorized to be here?

Sorry for the absence, folks. Seems like the pandemic allowed me to morph into my final form, which is a literal couch potato. My motivation for writing has been at Level Negative Zilch. Now, a little past a year of quarantine and isolation and safe distancing (plus a few personal matters that have beaten me down recently), I’m feeling motivated to get up off my ass...to sit on my ass and watch a movie. To actually review, not just zone out into a cross-eyed lump who shovels cheesy poofs and chocolate martinis into her pie hole.

Yes, the sass is still here. It’s just needs a little dusting and polishing.

Today I bring you the indie horror-comedy, “Attack of the Killer Donuts”. In answer to my friend’s burning inquiry – ‘that exists??’ – yes, dear reader, such a thing exists. And it doesn’t suck as much as you might think.

Johnny and his childhood friend, Michelle, work at Dandy Donuts. While it is a shithole establishment, with a shit boss and shit pay, at least Johnny has a smoking-hot girlfriend, Veronica. Much to gal-pal Michelle’s chagrin.

At home with Johnny and his mom, Uncle Luther toils away in the basement, working on Reanimator experiments. It’s not working out very well at the moment, but he’s sure to create the world’s greatest formula for reanimation soon.

One day, while at work, Johnny’s Uncle barges in to demand the use of Johnny’s laptop. While the owner, Cliff, tries to throw the disheveled mad scientist out the door, a vial of green goo flies out of Luther’s pocket and straight into the deep frier. Can you guess what might happen next?

 That’s right. The current reanimation formula turns every fried pastry thereafter into a killing machine! The donuts wreak havoc (among the four customers who actually got donuts during the film) and it’s up to Johnny, Michelle, and their friend, Howard, to destroy the little monsters before it’s too late.

Worst fleshlight design ever.


Umm….

Okay, yes. This is a low budget, independent film. So as you might expect, it’s not filled with great performances, brilliant CGI, high production value…

Actually, scratch that. This movie was much better than I could have anticipated. Yes, some of the acting is a bit lackluster, but that was the exception, not the rule. Johnny and Michelle created very relatable characters; Cliff, though cliché, played a boss that I’d bet the majority of us have had to deal with at some point in our lives; but my favorite character/actress was Mrs. Scolari, played by Alison England. One of those middle-aged, kinda frumpy, single women who dance around in sexy lingerie and fondle baked goods on their ‘cheat day’ since they’d been working so hard to be healthier the rest of the week.

And we can’t forget the two cops, one played by C. Thomas Howell, who keeps shouting ‘free donuts’ before heading into the shop. He plays this character so over the top, overreacting to every situation, and saying ‘perp’ about the criminal in the squad car, about 1800 times. And I couldn’t stop laughing. He OWNED this role and made it his bitch.

How do those free donuts taste now, officer?

Now, obviously, there are characters created just to be fodder. Johnny’s whore girlfriend and her boy-toy; the three douche bros who sexually harass Michelle; even the dirty hippie organic donut shop competitor serves only to give the monstrous donuts something to munch on. But that’s okay. Not everyone can be the main cog in the machine. Some simply are the oil to keep it operational.

The story itself never gets lost in a jumble of special f/x or overbearing motivations. It does drag a bit, perhaps trying to build tension that really isn’t necessary. This is horror-comedy, people. Not a political thriller. The slapstick/physical comedy mixed in adds to the overall silliness and humor of the story, and never felt out of place or forced.

I did have two literal laugh out loud moments. When Michelle falls from a second story window, while the cops watch, she says, “Don’t worry. The ground broke my fall.” And at the end, when Johnny and Michelle are trapped in a storeroom, Johnny says, “I’m going to be a therapist’s dream if I ever get out of here alive.”

While the CGI used for the reanimated donuts and blood splatter is a bit cheesy, I’ve definitely seen much worse. To be honest, some CGI used in the last Star Trek film (ST Beyond, 2016) was obvious crap in a few spots but that’s kind of a cash cow so I’m sure the film makes are losing a lot of sleep over it.

 


Anyway, the CGI is okay but I was completely tickled by the cartoon squeaks and growls coming out of donuts (think Eight Legged Freaks). And whomever was taking prop donuts and throwing them from off-screen to make it look like the donuts were rolling and jumping on their own deserves an Oscar. Hilarious! That, and the few instances of practical effects, were damned convincing.

Overall the look, sound, editing, camera work were stellar. Honestly, I was surprised at how well the film looked and sounded. That’s rare in the indie film world, as my eyes and ears will attest. My guess would be it’s because there was little cross-over in departments. The director wasn’t the editor; the actors weren’t working on sound or cameras; the writers didn’t create the f/x. And from the bottom of my heart, Attack of the Killer Donuts cast and crew, I THANK YOU!

The only real issue I had with the film was the age of the main cast. I don’t know if Johnny, Michelle, and Howard were supposed to be in high school or college, but either way, they all looked too old for either. And maybe that’s because the actress playing Johnny’s mom did not look old enough to have a kid in high school, let alone college.

But really, aside from the questionable age differences among the cast, Attack of the Killer Donuts was a fun, enjoyable ride, with plenty of good humor, fun characters, and decent story telling. Everyone involved in this should be incredibly proud.

 

3.5 hatchets (out of 5)

 

 



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