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KatieBird* Certifiable Crazy Person: 2 out of 10: On the surface Katiebird has a lot of redeeming qualities. The story, while not original, is somewhat fresh. (Female serial killer mixed with Fraility like family touch.) The acting is well above average for a low budget horror film. (Even a poor performance such as Todd Gordon's stiff psychiatrist is still better than most.) The make up effects and original musical score, again despite some small faults, are also well above average.
So what went so horribly wrong?
Well for starters the film is a talky affair with not nearly enough plot to fill the 100 minute running time. For a serial killer Katiebird seems to have fallen a couple of victims short. The main (only) victim's killing is graphic but goes on way to long and lacks any punch. These scenes almost resemble a tedious Japanese snuff film (Guinea Pig Devil's Experiment for example) rather than a proper movie.
Oh and if the pictures are not enough of a clue the entire film is shot with split screen shifting windowpanes that take up maybe three quarters to as little as a third of your screen. Do not adjust your set. No really spend all the time you want fiddling with the aspect ratio on your remote it won't help. If you don't have a nice large screen plasma TV the film is simply unwatchable. If you do have a nice big screen the film is headache inducing. Even Woodstock didn't use this much split screen and Brian De Palma seems like a restrained TV sitcom director by comparison.
This is a shame because what little we can discern of cinematographer Josh Fong's works seems top notch. But it is lost in this look three places at once stylistic nightmare. Really you would have to be nuts to purposely torture your audience like this. Writer/director/editor Justin Paul Ritter is plainly nuts. Come to think of it he is a certified crazy person.
Interesting, movie that never quite gels.June 27 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
KatieBird: Certifiable Crazy Person (Justin Paul Ritter, 2005)
Corman film factory graduate Justin Paul Ritter presents his first movie, and for someone who was involved with some of Corman's worst recent offerings (including the Black Scorpion TV show), his managing to stay away from the horrible scripts, unintentional humor, and awful acting that characterized so much of his second-unit work is pretty amazing. In fact, that this movie is anything other than horrendous is pretty much reason to rejoice. It's not a great film by any means, but given his background, it does presage great things for Mr. Ritter in the future (and, four years after KatieBird, Ritter is set to release two new films in 2009; I'm looking forward to them).
The title character in this film (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman's Helene Udy) lives up to her subtitle; in the present-day scenes we see, KatieBird has brought her psychiatrist and would-be suitor (Point Blank's Todd Gordon) back to her place, where she slowly tortures him while telling him the story of her life (the character is played in flashback by Nicole Jarvis, in her first film role, as a child, and Rufus' Taylor Dooley as a teen), giving us a look at how her father, played by Into the Arms of Strangers' Lee Perkins (who, actually, is a professional race car driver who acts on the side), shaped her into the psychotic she is today.
Okay, so everyone and his mom had complained about the split-screen effect that's vastly overused in this movie. But you know what? Compared to Timecode, probably the most famous movie to use the technique, this is a triumph. Yeah, I grant you, it still kind of sucks, but it's done so much better here than I've ever seen it before. Part of this is because the use of the split-screen technique has nothing, really to do with what's actually going on onscreen. Most of the time it's simply a stylistic choice, rather than being used to show multiple storylines at once. It wasn't an absolute necessity to try and focus on multiple storylines, so it didn't really matter which screen I watched, I was still getting what I needed to know about the plot.
The script is solid, and there's some darned fine acting here (Udy, is excellent, and some mention should be made of Jun Hee Lee as a teen KatieBird's crush who comes to a very bad end), and it's interesting to see a film that's not a horror movie get the gore treatment. It seems most people who have watched this are unable to get by the split-screen thing; if you can, there's a lot to like with this one. ***
Katiebird* Certifiable Crazy PersonJan. 31 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
KatieBird is your just your average everyday serial killer, as her psychologist soon finds out while delving deep into her demented past! Justin Paul Ritter's directorial debut shows no shortage in style or ambition, although it is severely lacking in character, mood, and in the overall performances. Ritter immediately jumps in to a split-screen format that he will use throughout the duration of the film, but De Palma he is not. The technique is never properly applied to better our understanding of the characters or to tell a multi-layered story. Instead, it is mainly used to show the same repeated action from multiple perspectives. This would make sense if KatieBird were, perhaps, schizophrenic? The panels only serves as an ongoing distraction, and frequently remind the viewer that they are watching a movie. Ritter's attempt to create a serious character drama is foiled by his two lead actresses, playing the older and younger versions of KatieBird. Helene Udy and Taylor M. Dooley are impossible to believe in the role, and make it difficult not to laugh at their quirky, over-the-top performances. The basic premise and groundwork in KATIEBIRD could have served as a functional serial killer picture had Ritter taken a much more subtle approach, but there is far too much working against the film to make it enjoyable on any level.
-Carl Manes I Like Horror Movies
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Oh My God This Movie is Insane!March 16 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
I saw a bunch of great reviews for this movie all over the web and read about it in Fangoria and was very curious to check it out. This movie is awesome! If you like serial killer movies, if you like lots of gore that will make you cringe (including some teeth pulling scenes that are way more intense than Marathon Man...man, it'll be a long time before I go to a dentist) but most importantly if you like movies with substance, a plot and great cinematography this is the movie for you. Most horror movies these days are so formulaic - this one really is different. A truly unique, yet completely insance, film. I can't wait for the sequel!
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Please stop the split screen shots!Nov. 12 2006
- Published on Amazon.com
Looks like someone showed the director how to do split screen and partial screen shots on his computer, and he went absolutely nuts. The WHOLE movie is presented in this manner. It becomes very distracting, it's hard to emerse yourself in a story when you are constantly reminded that you are watching a film due to the overuse of a particual technique. That alone pretty much ruined the film for me. I guess you have to do something to cover up for a poorly written, shot and directed mess. Oh, and the music sucks too, unless you like guitar notes and chords held into lengthy sustained feedback. Gave me a headache.