By the time a man begins farting blood in his bathtub, An Hour to Kill has played its hand. Directed by Aaron K. Carter, it’s a playful anthology film that simply doesn’t have enough original ideas to support its weight, which is, all things considered, quite light.
The campfire stories peppered throughout the movie are framed within the context of two hitmen killing time until their target is ripe. What one of them doesn’t know is that he’s the target. This would be Frankie (Frankie Pozos), a rubber-faced doofus who must be related to someone in the hitman business. The Abbott to Frankie’s Costello is Gio (Aaron Guerrero), a calm, pragmatic gentleman who finds Frankie to be an irritant, but, for some reason, an endearing one. Because of this, he decides to delay Frankie’s execution for as long as possible, hence story time.
“…two hitmen killing time until their target is ripe.”
Looking at the big picture, hiding small horror films within the larger story of two hitmen isn’t without its advantages—it’s a bit messy, but nothing the wacky tone can’t excuse. Likewise, the dialogue isn’t quite as bargain-bin as you might expect, though there are plenty of exceptions, such as using “only on the weekends” as a viable punchline. This doesn’t mean that the more verbose sections of the film, most of which come from Frankie, don’t quickly wear thin. Other than Frankie’s fascination with his spirit animal, nothing that comes out of his mouth is particularly memorable, unique or worthy of mention.
As for the anthology stories, of which there are three, they have moments of amusing, Troma-level trashiness, but they’re mostly sterile. The worst one features a gaggle of college-age women who probably aren’t the brightest in their class or anybody’s class. On the hunt for a legendary marijuana plantation, they stumble into an abandoned Nazi bunker and are routinely killed by a guy in a gas mask. It’s not as fun as it sounds. The best—or most unhinged—of the three involves a race of lusty pig people, which has a few lines that made me smile, against my better judgment. That one is close to being as fun as it sounds.
Like so many movies, An Hour to Kill knows where it wants to be, but doesn’t know how to get there. It wants to be a disorderly, punk-rock slap in the face to your standards—moral, cinematic and otherwise—yet it feels like it’s working off a blueprint, which robs the movie of its necessary spontaneity. Having an attitude is a good place to start, but don’t forget the content.
An Hour to Kill (2018) Directed by Aaron K. Carter. Written by Aaron K. Carter and Ronnie “P.K.” Jimenez. Starring Mel Novak, Frankie Pozos, Aaron Guerrero, Arash Dibizar, Vince Kelvin, Amanda Rau, Jola Cora, Stephanie Strehlow, Alexya Garcia, Sarah Gordy, Brendan Mitchell, Gabriel Mercaado, Luna Meow, Marcus Pearce, Brian Reagan, Joe McQueen, Michael Camp, Kevin C. Beardsley, Chris Morris, Cal Alexander.
4 out of 10