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Kill 4 Love

average rating is 2 out of 5


Joe Beck


Posted on:

Nov 2, 2022

Film Reviews
Kill 4 Love
Directed by:
Hugh Liu
Written by:
Hugh Liu
Pratiksha Kadur, Dacotah Ateah, Darnelle David

There are moments of ‘Kill 4 Love’ which capture both the heart and the mind, often when it is at its most grounded, however, it constantly tries to reach for the moon, without ever realising just how good it is down on earth. Generally, films, especially amateur shorts, should be praised for having grand ambitions of lofty concepts, but sometimes the opposite is true. ‘Kill 4 Love’ is one such case, partially because what it aims to achieve isn’t all too impressive in the first place.


We are first introduced to a man, credited only as ‘The Ex’ and played by Dacotah Ateah, coming off the call with who we presume to be his girlfriend. We can tell right away that he’s supposed to be morally weaker. Why? He smokes weed, talks in far too a carefree manner and is lounging on a sofa more comfortably than we would like. Though Hugh Liu, who both writes and directs, characterisation is easy to grasp, it is too plain and plays far too closely to stereotypes that those who smoke weed abuse their partners.


Though we don’t see him abuse his partner, Cynthia (Pratiksha Kadur), her passive nature whilst around him, and the fact that she appears to stick by him despite receiving sparing amounts of love is supposed to hint that way. At the very least, their relationship is full of neglect and without much love. Therefore, we presume that the film will focus on the aftermath of the positive pregnancy test, flashed up with a background of a foggy motorway at the outset of the film.


This is all rather dull, containing weak characters and even weaker writing. However, the other side of the film, depicting what appears to be a budding relationship between Cynthia and ‘The Boy’, played by Darnelle David, feels genuinely heartfelt, at least at first, and fills us with that warm fuzzy feeling we get when watching a plausible love depicted on screen. Kadur and David have good physical chemistry, and their voiceovers are surprisingly well-written.


Problems start to emerge, however, when the voiceovers are ditched for actual conversation, at which point the writing, and consequently the acting, falls apart. Lines like ‘I just hope our friendship stays the same way…..platonic’ leaves the actors with little to work with and make the pair seem strained and uncomfortable more than anything. The dialogue is robotic and worsens when the two strands - revolving around Cynthia’s relationships with ‘The Ex’ and ‘The Boy’ - intertwine.


Nevertheless, whilst Liu’s writing is abject, his direction has moments of sheer brilliance. Firstly, to successfully capture Kadur and David’s physical chemistry, an arguably harder feat than capturing vocal chemistry, is impressive. But more than that, he successfully captures everyone’s desire to be wanted and to feel connected in our desperately hectic, fast-paced world. There are fleeting moments which feel like a Wong Kar-wai film, and the speed ramping, combined with an excellent soundtrack demonstrates his abilities as both director and editor.


However, a bad script catches up to anyone eventually, and it doesn’t take long for that to really drag ‘Kill 4 Love’ down. Hugh Liu is hopefully a director we see more of in the future, but the writing should be left to someone else.

About the Film Critic
Joe Beck
Joe Beck
Short Film
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