Who can dislike a movie about a Satanic cult that cruises around America, hunting down attractive women in order to kill them? Like all good horror films, Kristy addresses a subliminal fear, in this case of the capricious hatred of mobs of people united on the idea of resentment of those who have what they do not.
As one perpetrator says halfway through the film, when asked why she is stalking the lead character, “Pretty hair. Pretty car.” Translation: you have what I cannot, therefore you must be killed to make me feel better about being lost, empty, unhappy, and unstable.
In this one, the bad guys make themselves menacing the old fashioned way: they are competent. They know how to shut down power, jam cell phones, and distract authority. They are fearless, beyond concerns for getting caught or dying. They come on a singular mission: to kill Kristy, namely any wholesome and pretty girl that catches their eye.
Guided by a woman who detests the normal and healthy, this band of evildoers pick on Justine, a hard-working and somewhat boring college student who then must decide whether she wants to just give up, or defend herself. Like America slumbering through violence, she cannot at first accept her situation.
After a slow start, the movie packs in enough action to win over those of us who feel deep skepticism for “atmospheric” movies that use lengthy and boring emotional scenes to compensate for a lack of plot. Kristy uses a range of settings, lighting styles, and moods to bring out its inner atavism.
Fortunately for us nihilistic atavists, the movie does not preach a morality of anything but survival, and its characters are free of navel-gazing insanity… at least, the ones who survive are. It makes its point: when you are confronted with a fatalistic and revengeful mob, do you choose to live or to die?
Justine — played by the somewhat blank-faced Haley Bennett — shows us the everyperson in the middle class, going to college, working a part-time job, dealing with the aggravations of life, and basically checked out of everything but her own little mission. Unfortunately for her, life does not allow her that luxury.
While not an outright gorefest, Kristy manages enough savagery and aggression to be consistent with its storyline, and shows us how the darkness inside of all of us can be a friend when it confronts the snarling darkness of others. It will have you cheering for the battle, and hoping that sanity wins, even as evil appeals.