On my list of features which deserve far more attention than they’ve received; Kate Shenton’s Egomaniac ranks pretty damn high. Initially released in 2016, it’s a thought provoking and twisted horror comedy; focusing on writer and director Catherine Sweeney (played by the uncommonly talented Nic Lamont) and her desperate attempts to bring her own horror movie to the screen.
In March of 2018, renewed interest in Egomaniac was kindled when the entire film was uploaded to the YouTube channel of independent production company Hex Studios. Now another of Shenton’s projects has found a home there – a new web series called Netfl!x and Kill.
The first three episodes were uploaded to Hex on August 4th, with an introduction by channel lead and fellow traveller Lawrie Brewster. Future episodes will be screened weekly, every Saturday, for the rest of the season.
Netfl!x and Kill is essentially a houseshare sitcom; only the banter and feel-good vibes are shared between a serial killer (Adam Rhys-Davies) and a prospective victim (Lamont again). Despite knowing that he will one day murder her; the two have bonded, and settled into some kind of domestic bliss.
Beyond Lamont’s calm acceptance that she’s going to die; there’s very little indication so far of an overall story arc. Each episode sees Rhys-Davies return from a hard day’s butchering or preparing a spleen for consumption, and joining Lamont on the sofa; where they shoot the shit about various topics. Recent victims, the portrayal of serial killers on-screen, The Crown. Y’know, everyday things.
The most striking thing about Netfl!x and Kill is its subtlety. True, Rhys-Davies coming home all bloody is a thing; but the humour hinges on how mundane the duo consider their absurd and disturbing situation to be. The chuckles are of a nervous kind; a response to the contrast between what you’re seeing and hearing and the subtext. Despite being a savage killer; Rhys-Davies’ character is shy, insecure and Lamont offers him emotional support and encouragement – as you would to a friend who was nervous about a job interview or recovering from a break up.
Netfl!x and Kill benefits enormously from Rhys-Davies and Lamont’s great chemistry. Their previous collaborations with Shenton help; but it comes largely from their inspired work as the horror themed vaudeville act The Twins Macabre.
Because of the single room staging, Shenton’s writing needed to be razor sharp. And considering how short each episode is (the longest clocks in around three and half minutes), it’s great how she both pulls it off while weaving in some subtle commentary. Lamont is chained to the sofa – in the literal sense of wearing manacles, but also through binging on box sets and movies. You get the sense that this is how she would’ve spent most of her time anyway; regardless of her abduction.
These are only my first impressions of Netfl!x and Kill. The fact that it’s already given me so much to discuss tells you something about its quality and promise. I’ll be keeping a close eye on how it develops, because I’m genuinely excited about where this series is heading. Subscribe to Hex Studios, click the little bell icon and check it out.
Also…watch Egomaniac. This is a command as much as a recommendation.