When a college girl who is alone on campus over the Thanksgiving break is targeted by a group of outcasts, she must conquer her deepest fears to outwit them and fight back.
Randomness helps to breathe terror into horror movies in a way that few other things can. The idea that something could happen to anyone, and a person or people just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time is a thing of nightmares. It can help to put the audience into the shoes of the main character and make them more sympathetic. Events being random are much more relatable than events that are specific to one person or group of people.
The 2014 movie Kristy is a movie that capitalizes on the concept of randomness and uses it to make a thrilling cat-and-mouse style of movie. Haley Bennett stars as Justine, a college student staying on campus by herself while all of her friends go home for Thanksgiving. While alone, she is stalked by Violet (Ashley Greene) and three hooded, masked males. They are playing a game in which they must stalk and kill someone for an online video cult of sorts. Eventually, Justine has had enough and decides to fight back.
The biggest problem with Kristy is in the setup of the movie. The first ten or fifteen minutes of the movie drag on a little too long and could put people off. But it’s mostly for the sake of setting up how alone she is on the college campus and what the different locations within the campus are. Much of the locational setup is done through a montage set to the song Pumpin Blood by artist NONONO. The song felt out of place, yet the montage still succeeded by laying out all of the settings that would be featured later in the movie. The montage is the only instance in which there are problems with the tone of the movie. Following that, everything shifts into a feeling of dread that lasts until the final moments of the film.
The tense feeling that protrudes out of Kristy goes hand in hand with the design of the antagonists. Violet, the leader of the villainous characters, had a dark aura about her. The shallow face, the piercings, and the pale skin rounded out her look. Seeing her stalking Justine around the campus felt like watching a ghost haunting someone. And her cronies are just as horrifying to witness. The three men that she hangs around are dressed fairly simply, wearing hoodies and masks made out of what looks like duct tape. It turns them into faceless villains. They could be anyone, helping to feed the idea that what is going on is random. The randomness of the villains is what fills the movie with fear.
It becomes easy to relate to Justine when watching Kristy because of how the attack feels like it could be happening to anyone. This relatable nature is supported by a solid performance from the lead actress. Haley Bennett manages to make her character likeable through the small amount of interaction she has with other characters before the attack, and through her actions while by herself. She perfectly embodies a college student left on an empty campus. The playful nature that she has with herself when moving from location to location, and the feeling of isolation when she has done everything that she can think of doing. The setup isn’t the only time that Bennett shines in the movie, though. Her desperation as she flees from her attackers and the rage as she inflicts her revenge are as real as anyone could hope for. A lesser actor wouldn’t be able to make the performance both entertaining and believable.
That said, the other performances throughout Kristy are not too shabby either. The three hooded figures that stalk after Justine are physically on point. They walk around like predators going after their prey, which is exactly what this scenario is. There’s an animalistic nature to their mannerisms that makes their presence threatening. Their leader, Violet, is just as well portrayed. Ashley Greene performs well as the ghoulish leader of the pack. She manages to flip the image that you have of her based on the Twilight movies, and become someone much darker. Her attitude is much more sinister, and it works. You worry about what she could do to Justine and her performance helps to drive the movie forward.
Some of you might be reading this and thinking that I am overdoing it with my positivity for Kristy. That might be true. The thing is, I really enjoyed watching Kristy. It was derivative of other movies of the same ilk, but it still managed to be captivating and bring thrills to the previously treaded material. The movie takes advantage of how random horror can be. It plays into the idea that the events could happen to anyone. It makes for a good watch. Movies are about entertainment. Kristy is entertaining.