In The Shower (now retitled “Killer Party”), a group of Los Angeles suburbanites gather for a baby shower, only to find themselves in the middle of a pandemic that appears to change people into roving zombies. Alex Drummond’s directorial debut is amusing, but the plot and action are stretched a little too thinly for a full-length feature, despite appealing performances.
Nick (Kurt Ela, “Death’s Door”) and Mary (Rachael Drummond, “Dig Two Graves”) are having a baby. They’re in showbiz, and their mutual agent Joanne (Suzanne Sena, “Sex, Marriage and Infidelity”) throws them a very nice party at her home, inviting all of their friends. There’s some mild tension (one woman wants another baby, but her husband demurs; one man is the ex of a woman who’s there with her new man), but the action kicks up a few notches as the party winds down, when a neighbor from across the street stumbles through the front door, bloodied and carrying a knife, ranting about stabbing his wife before she could stab him, or something. Next thing you know, he’s attacking people, and then out the door he’s sent.
Seems like a zombie/rage virus to me. Then a clown gets involved, which is always fun to watch. And man, is this clown ragged. Makeup all off-kilter, devilish grin, more like Pennywise than Bozo — and he’s just finished entertaining the little kids at the baby shower! He, too “turns,” as they say, as do other neighbors and even some of the party guests.
Soon everyone’s running out of food, with no water (shut off), no power (shut off), and no phone signals. One guest speculates that the latter could be attributed to an electromagnetic pulse, which would also explain why the cars apparently don’t start. Yes, our heroes are stuck. Whenever they wander outside, they’re attacked; like men to big-screen TVs, the afflicted congregate outside the home when someone steps out. There’s plenty of carnage — evisceration, cannibalism, and so on.
There are some amusing, well-staged gags. The bloody, frothing clown is one of them. Another is the man who is willingly quarantined with his ex (who appears to have been infected), solely so he can convince her to come back to him and his ever-doting ways. It doesn’t end well. There’s also the sight of a foray by four of the men across the street, bound in duct taped phone books and holding such weapons as golf clubs and hammers.
Ultimately, though, The Shower could have been better served as a short film. I caught this at the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival, presented at the AFI Silver Theatre. The film was preceded by two shorts, as is the norm for this festival: One was about two haunted Creed tickets (very funny), and the other about a man who sets up an old friend for a hit-and-run (quite clever). The movies in this festival, like most new-movie festival entries, can be hit or miss anyway. I wouldn’t classify The Shower as a miss, but it’s not quite a hit; tighter editing could have produced much scarier comedy-thriller.