Kristy was directed by Olly Blackburn from a script by Anthony Jaswinski, starring Haley Bennett, Ashley Greene, and the guy from that Taylor Swift video (Lucas Till, also of the X-Men franchise). The film follows Justine (Haley Bennett), a college student who remains on campus during Thanksgiving break, as she is tormented by a cult. The cult members, led by Violet (Ashley Greene of Twilight fame – making this arguably her greatest movie), are in search of pretty girls with great lives to torment/murder on camera so that they can upload the videos on the internet for other cult members to witness. The cat and mouse game that ensues is quite thrilling and intense, but there certainly are bumps in the road.
There are several things that work in this movie. First of all, Olly Blackburn knows what he’s doing behind the camera. From the opening scene, it’s obvious that the man is a natural at crafting great shots. There are several chase sequences throughout the film – with quite a few taking place in the college hallways – and these could have been generic, shaky-cam chase scenes (some of them are, but Olly relies on them far less than other directors, which is certainly a highlight for me), but were uplifted by Blackburn’s ability to use location and lighting to his advantage. The pool scene in the final act, for example, is glorious. This is a well-made film, for sure.
The acting is another highlight of Kristy. Haley Bennett is great as Justine, beginning the movie as more of a sad, weary character, and finishing the film as one of the better horror heroines in recent memory. The entire film relies on her performance, and Bennett absolutely nails it. Ashley Greene is also notable here as Violet. This is a much different role than the other films she’s been a part of, and she plays the “creepy” role very well.
Not every horror lover is looking for the Citizen Kane of the genre when they search Netflix for something to watch. All that really matters to some people is that there are scares to be found. Are there scares to be found in Kristy? Most definitely. There are several intense moments – some including graphic violence, others with heart-stopping suspense – that should please horror hounds greatly.
As I mentioned above, there are bumps in the road. This isn’t a perfect film. While I can safely recommend Kristy solely off the weight of its positives, there are a few negatives that you must be warned about. The first twenty minutes are particularly disengaging. It takes a little while for this movie to get going, but when it does, it’s definitely worth it. I simply wish that Kristy could have worked as well while setting up the action as it did once the action started. That’s a minor gripe though in comparison to my next flaw. Stupid characters. They can nearly kill a whole movie. With no disrespect to the actor (James Ransone) – who did a fine job in the role – the character of Scott was poorly written and made laughably bad decisions. Luckily, the character isn’t in Kristy long enough to do any real damage to the film as a whole (spoiler alert, bad decisions get you killed in a horror film).
Final Thoughts: All in all, I’m confident that there is an audience for Kristy. It’s competently made, well acted, and it’s pleasing enough for fans of violence and gore. If you find yourself on Netflix with an hour and a half to kill, you could do much worse than spending your time with Kristy.