When multiple Ben Lyk’s are bumped off in quick succession, Scotland Yard comes to the rescue, assembling the remaining namesakes in one locale, thereby helpfully constructing a classic context for this farce-come–whodunnit. The 70’s soft-porn Carry On meets Scream opener successfully sets the mood for this romp through a compilation of black comedy, thriller and horror tropes. How you feel about that particular combination of genres will, I believe, dictate what that mood actually is.
Protagonist Ben Lyk (played by Eugene Simon, previously a minor Lannister in Game of Thrones) is an earnest, deluded, mildly irritating vlogger and what can only be described as a bit of a pillock. From the start he’s fundamentally unlikeable, making his potential demise something to look forward to rather than fear. But gradually, and thanks to Simon’s ability to act his way out of the restraints of a less than stellar script, we start to hate him a little bit less. His scenes with Girl Ben Lyk (Simone Ashley) are helpful in this respect, and the banter between them, if a little clunky, draws a smile. The same can’t be said for the running gags (something something misogynistic, stereotyped guff something something), but there are enough solid jokes scattered around the place to keep your frown turned upside down.
The acting brief for this film was clearly “farce it up”. Over-exaggerated characterisation and comedy delivered by sledgehammer are the hallmarks of farce, and Kill Ben Lyk is full of both. The ensemble cast clearly committed to creating the sense of desperation needed for a farce to work. Nervous Ben Lyk (Bronson Webb), may have committed a wee bit too much. His sense of desperation was somewhere between “fantastically energetic” and “in need of a stint at Overactors Anonymous”. James Chalmers however gave a particularly impressive turn as Scott, underappreciated deputy to Detective Talisker (Gretchen Egolf), managing a subtler, more mature delivery that was less Scooby Doo and more 80’s black comedy Clue.
This is a fun film with some nice twisty bits that keep you watching but with an ending from the school of M Night Shyamalan that just doesn’t make logical sense (go on, watch it and tell me I’m wrong).
Kill Ben Lyk, cert 15, is out in UK cinemas now.
Review by H J Nicol