Kill Me Three Times is an Aussie crime caper that harks back to Ozploitation and heralds a new age for film marketing at the same time. Emma Carroll reports.
A dark comedy about a hitman’s botched job, Kill Me Three Times is out today – but the cast have been leaving threatening voice messages and sending weird texts for a while now, as part of the film’s marketing campaign.
The dark comedy crime caper follows a hitman in a remote beach-side town who’s trying to finish a job that’s becoming increasingly complicated. It’s a far cry from director Kriv Stenders last film, the massively successful Red Dog. This is in part what drew Kriv to the project.
“I’d been developing a few projects … and this was something that was left of centre,” Kriv says. The other major drawcard was the script, written by James McFarland: “It really leapt off the page. In a really exciting way. I also just found it very funny. Very perversely and darkly funny,” he adds.
Kriv says Kill Me Three Times tips its hat to that great era of Australian filmmaking: Ozploitation. “I’ve always loved the thriller genre, and I was attracted to the idea of using that with dark comedy,” Kriv says. “I was very inspired by … the Ozploitation era,” he continues. “We [Australians] made some very interesting genre films during that period. And genre films with international stars that played with genre in a uniquely Australian way,” Kriv says. “This was a chance to pay homage to that era.”
And indeed it is – up to and including the international star, with Simon Pegg playing hitman Charlie Wolfe. Kriv says he knew from the get-go that he wanted to cast a comic actor in the lead role. “Rather than casting a generic ‘bad guy’ as the hitman, I’ve always felt that comics make great villains and that it would be a great idea to cast a comic actor in the role,” Kriv says. The producers agreed and Simon Pegg was cast. Simon’s joined by a stellar Aussie line-up, with Teresa Palmer, Sullivan Stapleton, Luke Hemsworth and Bryan Brown also starring.
Kriv describes the film as “one and a half hours of pure, unadulterated entertainment”. But the fun doesn’t have to end there: Kill Me Three Times also has an innovative transmedia marketing campaign, which sees users – who sign up at the website – ‘stalked’ by Charlie Wolfe for three days. Kill Me Three Times associate producer Daniel Findlay, who took the lead on the campaign, says it’s a must for movie fans. “I’d recommend signing up,” Daniel says. “You’ve never experienced anything quite like it.”
The campaign was launched in time for the film’s US release and boasts about 6,000 users to date. “People aren’t exactly sure what they’re in for before they sign up, which I think is part of the appeal,” Daniel says. “I think people are interested in interacting with characters from a movie,” he adds.
The premise is this: You witness Charlie and Sam commit murder and you film it. So Charlie and Sam come looking for you.
Once you’re signed up, characters from the film send you texts, leave messages on your phone, and send you videos and links. And there’s a Facebook element as well.
“Each character has a different motive for reaching out,” Daniel says, “and the experience plays out over several days.”