What if God gave you a task that you had to complete within one evening, without knowing exactly whether the person who just gave you this task was really God? This scenario spins Spanish production KILLING GOD (es. Matar a Dios) which is always fun when the actual topic is not the main focus. We reveal more about this in our review.
The plot summary
A remote country house in the idyllic mountains. Sounds like the perfect place for a cozy family dinner on New Year’s Eve. But when a mysterious little homeless dwarf disrupts the celebration, deep abysses open up. The dwarf actually claims to be God. And he brings bad news: “When the sun rises, all of humanity will be wiped out.” The “good news” is that the family he is now staying with can choose two people who will survive the drama. The fate of humanity suddenly lies in the hands of a depressed guy, a married couple who can’t have children, and an old man with heart problems. Each of them is clearly ready to be part of the new world. Who would you save? They wouldn’t save you – for sure.
Movie explanation of the ending
Since the subgenre of controversial comedy – i.e. the genre of film in which a large group of people argue with each other in a small space – has enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years, it is not surprising that the actually simple premise is being tweaked more and more. Until recently, escalating disputes were distinguished primarily by the reason for the dispute; the name of an unborn child (“The first name”) is one such thing, or the wish for “just an hour of peace,” as in the French comedy of the same name. In “Killing God – Love Your Neighbor” there is also an enjoyable argument. However, the reason for this is supernatural in a way. It is a dwarf (Emilio Gavira) who introduces himself as a god and gives those present a task that could fill entire philosophy school lessons. The already completely divided clan should do nothing less than save the world, because the next morning humanity should be history. Only two copies survive – and who they are is decided by the couple Carlos (Eduardo Antuña) and Ana (Itziar Castro), who are about to separate, the severely depressed Santi (David Pareja) and the aging padre (Francesc Orella). Unfortunately, this premise sounds much more significant than it is ultimately implemented.
What’s with the bearded dwarf who claims to be God?
“Killing God – Love Your Neighbor” has its unique selling point in the title: This film is about killing God and regardless of whether the little bearded man is actually God or just a tramp (that will only become clear in the… final shots of the film), the basic idea that a few people are considering murdering the biblical creator may seem blasphemous to some viewers. But before it even gets to the point where the knives are sharpened or the poison is mixed into the wine, “Killing God” has long been a largely harmless controversial comedy, at least from a religious perspective, which works thanks to the harmonious chemistry within the cast. Above all, the married couple Carlos and Ana, between whom there is an unspoken suspicion that Ana has cheated on her macho husband with a work colleague, interact absolutely authentically and without regard to the viewing habits of the audience. Not only do the actors look and behave like normal people, but the entire scenario seems pleasantly unstaged in the first half hour, apart from the prologue in which the bearded dwarf meets his first victim . When Santi, who is hopelessly wallowing in lovesickness, and Padre, who follows everything as a neutral observer, join in, this constellation, written on credible opposites, results in fiery dialogues and a lot of fun for the viewer.
This goes on for about half an hour before the four of them suddenly hear flushing noises coming from the bathroom. If the dwarf’s appearance had not already been announced in the prologue and was a significant part of the marketing, this could have created an extremely intense moment of tension, at least at certain points. But because we know who is about to walk through that door, directors Caye Casas and Albert Pintó, who have so far only been responsible for short films, cannot capitalize on the unpredictability of this scene. From now on everything concentrates on the dynamics within the group, which now has one more person, which initially gains drive through the obscure task of the dwarf (or god). However, this is not necessarily because Carlos, Ana, Santi and Padre would from now on engage in profound philosophical discussions about the value of life; the value of the discourse remains only hinted at throughout the entire duration. From a general discussion (“If only two people survive, one of them should definitely be a doctor.”), the conversation quickly shifts back to the conditions around the table and the question is no longer which two people in the world should be saved, but which of the four.
The house is full of stuffed animals. An ideal setting for a disastrous encounter…
Why “Killing God” is listed as a horror film on the IMDb is revealed in the final third. It’s not really scary, although the backdrop of an old, winding and visibly run-down manor house with all sorts of dead animals would definitely make it. The restrained background music (composer: Francesc Guzmán), which intensifies the action in the right places, also gives the film an uncomfortable atmosphere. But “Killing God” only really tips into the genre from the moment in which the friends decide to make short work of the dwarf god. Now it’s getting a bit messy. Heads are chopped off and hands are cut off until the blood shoots out of the bodies in fountains. But even such escalations of violence (which are at least the result of good hand-made effects and do not come from the computer) cannot completely prevent “Killing God” from running out of steam with every scene. Due to the dramaturgical slack in the middle part, which is actually just about superficial conversations being had about a topic that actually has much more substance, the film has to pick itself up again towards the end. And unfortunately he only succeeds to a limited extent. The strong actors don’t change that, nor does the fact that the makers chose a really bitter note for the end, which makes “Killing God” stay in your memory at least a little longer than the previous ninety minutes. So much wasted potential is downright tragic.
Conclusion: “Killing God” has a strong start and ends with a bittersweet punchline. Everything in between, however, falls far short of the expectations you would have when a dwarven god asks a group of losers to judge the future world population.
“Killing God” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from December 27th.