Keith Chegwin’s involvement with comedy-horror film Kill Keith certainly gives it something of a novelty appeal – but whether this will be enough to quench the anticipation surrounding this feature remains to be seen.
‘Cheggers’, as he is somewhat affectionately known, is one of those celebrities for whom public nostalgia towards 1970s’ TV presenters seems to have worked wonders. He’ll be the reason why the majority of people go to see this film and, to his credit, he is probably the best thing in it.
Chegwin plays the presenter of an outdoor segment on a live breakfast TV show, reminiscent of his days as the real-life host of The Big Breakfast‘s ‘Down Your Doorstep’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s great at it – many of his scenes feel like they could have been lifted straight from Chegwin’s show-reel, and it is invariably his on screen appearances which tend to lift the pace of this entire film.
The plot, however, which was written by the film’s director Andy Thompson, is almost unbearably tongue-in-cheek at times, and centres around fictional breakfast TV show, ‘The Crack of Dawn’. The presenter is, of course, called Dawn (played by 188.8.131.52‘s Susannah Fielding), giving rise to a plethora of ‘crack’ puns, which seem to set the standard for much of the humour in the film. Dawn’s co-presenter is leaving the show, and a number of other well-known personalities are rumoured to be lined up as his replacement – except that, one by one, they begin to be gruesomely killed off by a murdered, dubbed the Breakfast Cereal Killer (another pun, geddit?).
Kill Keith perhaps suffers from the comparisons which will undoubtedly be made with films such as Shaun of the Dead – whose shoes it is far from filling in terms of offering that seamless blend between horror and comedy. The film’s been given a 15 certificate, which seems about right given the torturous nature of radio DJ Tony Blackburn and comedian Joe Pasquale’s on-screen murders. The trouble is that the comedy aspect of the film pitches it’s humour at a level which is, for the most part, aimed at an age much younger than this.
It’s not that the jokes aren’t there, it’s just that they aren’t particularly sophisticated – but then, from a gore-fest centred around Keith Chegwin, what did you expect? Admittedly, there are one or two which simply don’t work – Tony Blackburn actually playing his double, rather than himself, being just one example – and these become rather laboured after about twenty minutes or so. The film also relies far too heavily on Chegwin’s casting as an upbeat and squeaky-clean celeb’ – something which may have been slightly tainted by his (much funnier) appearance on Ricky Gervais’ Extras back in 2006, if nothing else.
The sub-plot, which sees The Crack of Dawn runner, Danny – played by Marc Pickering, who was last seen on the big screen in Calendar Girls – desperately trying to win the heart of the lovely Dawn certainly has its endearing moments. On the whole, however, Kill Keith is slightly clumsy affair, and despite a few mildly amusing cameos, it is unlikely to achieve the cult status to which it might have aspired without far more sophisticated scripting, and perhaps slightly less reliance on Cheggers himself.
Kill Keith hits UK cinemas on 11th November 2011.
Check out our interview with Keith Chegwin here.