×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Film Review: ‘Women Who Kill’

Two Brooklyn lesbian exes fascinated by female serial killers fear they may have met a real live one in Ingrid Jungermann's indie comedy.

With:
Ingrid Jungermann, Ann Carr, Sheila Vand, Shannon O’Neill, Annette O’Toole, Grace Rex, Terrance Nance, Deborah Rush, Rodrigo Lopresti, Tami Sagher, Francis Benhamou, Ngozi Jane Anyanwoul, Anna Orlova, Jeremy Paschall, Keisha Zollar, Kim Blanck, Doug Moe.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3973012/

A shaggy, banter-driven quasi-thriller in the mode of “Manhattan Murder Mystery” (or the “Thin Man” movies, for that matter), “Women Who Kill” offers a drolly amusing, lightly macabre variation on the standard lesbian romantic comedy. Ingrid Jungermann’s feature debut as writer-director-star deploys a lot of improv talent for this Brooklyn-set tale of two ex-lovers who host the titular morbidly-themed podcast, and find their insular social circle suddenly invaded by a possible genuine compulsive murderess. Nimbly sustaining the kind of off-kilter, anecdotal humor Jungermann test-drove in several prior shorts and two web series, “Women Who Kill” seems likely to break out of the gay festival-and-niche-home-release ghetto to score some limited arthouse exposure.

Debating topics such as “Who’s the hottest female serial killer” like NPR commentators discussing favorite recycling methods, Park Slope denizens Morgan (Jungermann) and Jean (Ann Carr) continue to spend nearly all their time together, even though they emphatically deny the relationship retains any romantic element. That changes when the neighborhood food co-op gets a glam, mysterious new member in Simone (Sheila Vand from “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”), who wastes little time before making moves on lanky, neurotic, oddly-Joaquin-Phoenix-resembling (as Jean duly notes) veteran participant Morgan.

This new involvement develops at a heedless pace, to the annoyance of Morgan’s suddenly neglected friends. But just as Simone proposes they move in together, the co-op’s tart-tongued volunteer supervisor (Deborah Rush) suffers an untimely death, and Jean’s snooping reveals that Morgan’s new amour is living under a pseudonym. Worse, she’s the child of a notorious convicted killer who might possibly have gone to prison to cover her daughter’s actual guilt.

This intrigue is really just the hook from which hangs a deadpan insider’s sendup of Brooklyn hipster and lesbian subcultures, one similar to (if less surreal in humor than) Madeleine Olnek’s recent features “The Foxy Merkins” and “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same.” The real narrative crux isn’t so much the murder-mystery element but the question of whether Morgan and Jean are going to cave in and reunite as more than BFFs, assuming they survive the flying-wedge impact of femme fatale Simone.

Jungermann and Carr’s well-practiced chemistry is nicely supported by an array of more flamboyant peripheral personalities, the most notable being Shannon Patricia O’Neill and Grace Rex as a more exaggeratedly butch/femme couple experiencing their own reverse crisis (brought on by impending wedlock). Annette O’Toole lends playful electricity to her few scenes as a long-imprisoned lesbian serial murderess who welcomes our heroines’ journalistic interest with a tad too much creepy enthusiasm.

One of those indie comedies in which nearly all the humor is of a sly, throwaway nature, “Women Who Kill’s” air of bemused inconsequentiality is ironically underlined by the expansive feel of Rob Leitzell’s extra-widescreen-format lensing. While its characters do a lot of that dithering familiar to well-educated “alternative” urbanites with too much time on their hands, the film they inhabit is confidently executed on all tech/design levels.

Popular on Variety

Film Review: 'Women Who Kill'

Reviewed online, San Francisco, July 26, 2016. (In Fantasia, Tribeca, Frameline, Outfest film festivals.) Running time: 91 MIN.

Production: A Parts and Labor presentation. (International sales: The Film Collaborative, Los Angeles.) Producer: Alex Scharfman. Executive producers: Cliff Chenfeld, Craig Balsam, Jim Rosenthal, Rick Milenthal, Victor Zaraya, Stacie Passon, Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen. Co-producers: Lauren Brady, Eric LaFranchi.

Crew: Director, writer: Ingrid Jungermann. Camera (color, wide, HD): Rob Leitzell. Editor: Ron Dulin.

With: Ingrid Jungermann, Ann Carr, Sheila Vand, Shannon O’Neill, Annette O’Toole, Grace Rex, Terrance Nance, Deborah Rush, Rodrigo Lopresti, Tami Sagher, Francis Benhamou, Ngozi Jane Anyanwoul, Anna Orlova, Jeremy Paschall, Keisha Zollar, Kim Blanck, Doug Moe.

More Film

  • Jumanji The Next Level

    Box Office: 'Jumanji 2' Eyes $40 Million-Plus Debut

    Will Christmas bring a fruitful box office bounty for Sony’s “Jumanji: The Next Level”? The Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart-led sequel, which arrives in theaters on Dec. 13, is on pace to debut to $40 million to $50 million, according to early independent tracking services. Since tracking has been unreliably for sequels in recent weeks, [...]

  • Pluto TV Picks Up Collection of

    Pluto TV Picks Up Films for Woody Allen Season on U.K. Service (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom-owned streamer Pluto TV has inked a deal with Signature Entertainment for a collection of Woody Allen movies from the 1990s and will put them out in a dedicated season on its AVOD service in the U.K. Woody Allen Fridays start on the service this week, with the filmmaker’s pictures playing on the Pluto TV [...]

  • Chuck Lorre, Scott Stuber to Keynote

    Chuck Lorre, Scott Stuber to Keynote Variety Innovate Summit

    “The Big Bang Theory” co-creator and TV producer Chuck Lorre and the head of Netflix Films Scott Stuber will keynote Variety’s Innovate Summit presented by PwC on Dec. 5 in Los Angeles. Lorre will share the career experiences that lead to his co-creating and executive producing “The Big Bang Theory,” “Young Sheldon” and “Mom.” Lorre’s extensive [...]

  • John Williams poses on the red

    'Star Wars' Composer John Williams Nabs 71st Grammy Nom 58 Years After His First

    Composer John Williams received two Grammy nominations, as announced yesterday, bringing his grand total to 71 nominations, with 24 wins to date. Williams was nominated in the composing and arranging field. His “Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite,” written for the new “Star Wars”-themed park at Disneyland, was nominated for best instrumental composition, while his arrangement of [...]

  • Rian Johnson'Knives Out' premiere, BFI London

    Rian Johnson on 'Knives Out,' 'Star Wars' and Toxic Fandom

    Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” is a wickedly funny, fiendishly clever, and surprisingly prescient murder mystery. It succeeds as both a brilliantly constructed puzzle-box of a whodunit, offering up a big reveal that’s extremely satisfying, and as a incisive comment on the class divisions and prejudice that are roiling America. If that sounds medicinal, fear not. [...]

  • Parasite

    Bong Joon-ho's 'Parasite' Wins Best Film at Asia Pacific Screen Awards

    Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite,” which earlier this year won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, on Thursday added the Asia Pacific Screen Award for best film to its burgeoning trophy cabinet. “Parasite” producer Jang Young-hwan was on hand to accept the award at the end of a ritzy ceremony in Brisbane, Australia. The APSAs, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content