Self-conscious snark gets you only so far when you're making a semi-satirical slasher pic, even when there are cheap 3D shocks to exploit, and "Julia X" pretty much defines the extent of what a film can offer with such a limited bag of tricks.

Self-conscious snark gets you only so far when you’re making a semi-satirical slasher pic, even when there are cheap 3D shocks to exploit, and “Julia X” pretty much defines the extent of what a film can offer with such a limited bag of tricks. Helmer P.J. Pettiette strives mightily to elevate a strenuously unfunny clash between rival serial killers to the level of outrageous, even transgressive black comedy. But only genre fans impatient to see Kevin Sorbo cast against type as a smooth-talking psycho will care to catch the pic before it reaches 2D homevid.

Sorbo sustains an air of wink-wink bemusement as an irresistible nutjob fond of trolling the Internet for lovely victims to wine and dine, then torture and slay. Indeed, he maintains his sassy sangfroid even after he’s trapped by an equally deranged beauty (Valerie Azlynn) and her flakier sister (Alicia Leigh Willis). Unfortunately, even as the mayhem escalates, “Julia X” remains a promising premise in search of a satisfying execution. Thanks to 3D, various objects periodically appear to jut out from the screen. But that doesn’t help.

Julia X

Production

A Dixie Theatrical Corp. production. Produced by Greg Hall, P.J. Pettiette, Claudie Viguerie. Directed by P.J. Pettiette. Screenplay, Matt Cunningham, Pettiette.

Crew

Camera (color, 3D), Jason Goodman; editor, Rob Neal; music supervisor, Mason Cooper; production designer, Mark Tanner. Reviewed at Fantastic Fest, Austin, Sept. 25, 2011. Running time: 92 MIN.

With

Kevin Sorbo, Valerie Azlynn, Joel David Moore, Alicia Leigh Willis, Courtney Rawls, Ving Rhames.

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