Check your manners with the new indie film ‘Kill Them with Kindness’
“Kill Them with Kindness” is a phrase we often hear. The idea being that people can overcome their detractors with a positive outlook and a refusal to stoop to their cruel level. Kill Them with Kindness is also the name of the new Steven Demmler film, and the black comedy has put a gloriously twisted spin on the phrase by taking it literally.
Kill Them with Kindness follows Aubrey, a mild-mannered woman who’s been on the receiving end of plenty of bullies. She ultimately works up the courage to confront the bullies, with the aid of her girlfriend Karen, and resolves to kill them all with kindness. The catch being, the sweeter Aubrey is, the more her enemies are prone to actual death.
Steven Demmler directed the film, and his delicate touch helps to deliver on the insane concept. He knows precisely when to play up the absurdity of Aubrey’s power, and when to downplay them in favor of dramatic storytelling. The film has a remarkably fluid feel to it, which is crucial given the disparate blend of humor and horror. Demmler applies a deft storytelling approach to show the ways in which cruelty can be viewed as kindness, and vice versa.
Demmler stated as much when asked to clarify the film’s core themes. “This is a film about two things”, he explained. “First: the dangers of consuming and accepting words, teachings, ideologies uncritically. Second: the perils of focusing so narrowly on a single goal (e.g., personal growth) that we miss the face that we’ve already acquired what we are chasing. That our continued myopic pursuit of some warped ideal might actually cost us everything.”
The warped ideal comes through loud and clear in the growing pessimism of the main character. Aubrey starts off as a thoughtful, likable person, but the more she gives in to her bullying desires. It reaches a point where the viewer has to consider who the bully really is, and whether Aubrey’s so-called “enemies” deserve the gory fate they’ve been given. Kill Them with Kindness reminds us of the importance of true kindness.
Steven Demmler has had plenty of experience consuming and accepting words. He works in finance and technology, but his real passion is writing, which he constantly does. Demmler’s work has appeared in The Palm Beach Post, Points In Case, Slackjaw, The Weekly Humorist, academic journals, and tons of other acclaimed outlets.
Demmler did his graduate studies at NYU Stern, during which time he worked on the crew of the iconic variety show Saturday Night Live. He has worked on over 100 episodes to date, which is something he tells to anyone who will listen and anyone who won’t. We don’t blame him.