Killing Diaz (2019)

Wouldn’t it just be easier if, instead of having to have an awkward conversation, we could just do a murder instead? That’s a question posed by Killing Diaz, which sees this very scenario play out. A drunken night leads to a potentially awkward situation for one of its characters, and instead of resolving it like mature adults, a decision is made, using groupthink, to maybe kill the other party. That other party is Diaz (Krysta Rodriguez), which should be obvious if you have read the title of the film.

The film spends most of its running time with its five protagonists (played by Josh Zuckerman, Adam Brooks, Andy Fischer-Price, Bradford Benoit, and Max Crumm) as they initially just go about their day-to-day life and eventually zone in on maybe, actually, plotting Diaz’s demise. The first part of that gives us a strong idea of who these characters are and establishes a base from which we will have to jump once it comes to the potential killing. It also highlights Killing Diaz‘s main problem, which is that it doesn’t have enough substance to sustain a feature-length production.

There is a meandering, pacing issues, and redundancy all designed to stretch out its length to reach feature running time. It’s a basic and bare premise, and with nothing much more to the story, the characters and their dialogue have to carry it; otherwise it would be an even shorter, less substantial movie. The characters do their part, but the plot doesn’t do a ton with them. It’s limiting. You wish there was more to it. It feels hollow.

Of course, that’s just when it comes to the story that’s being told here. There’s a bit more to the movie than its plot. Killing Diaz contains a central gimmick that keeps it from ever becoming too dull: it has its male actors dress in drag from time to time and gender-bend the entire story whenever they do. Unless I missed something, it happened only when they were alone and in their apartment. The lighting often got more dynamic and dramatic, too. It’s different and gets your attention. It recontextualizes the conversations its protagonists are having and makes them more involving. If there’s a reason to watch Killing Diaz, it’s this.

The actors get to have fun overacting, especially when dressed up in bad wigs and fake nails. There aren’t any good dramatic performances, but that isn’t often what they were going for. The tone of the film, despite its subject matter, is often light and humorous, and the hysterical performances reinforce that. That does take away from its few attempts at drama, and you’re never going to feel like anyone’s in actual danger or that any of it matters. Much like the plot, it all feels insubstantial, like there was more to be reaped from its premise.

You probably won’t have seen a film like Killing Diaz before. Its central gimmick, which has its male actors dress in drag and gender-bend the entire story, will hold your attention. The plot is of less consequence, not containing enough substance to carry a feature film. But it has some laughs, the actors seem to be having fun, and its gimmick keeps it from feeling like generic. That’s enough for a recommendation; if you’re seeing something you haven’t seen before, it’s worthwhile in my eyes.

Conclusion: Killing Diaz has a gimmick that keeps it fresh.

Recommendation: If a movie contains something unusual that you won’t see elsewhere, that’s worth checking out. Killing Diaz has that.

  • 6/10
    Rating - 6/10

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