The Omicron Killer Is No Lethal Variant

Paugh Shadow as the Omicron Killer in The Omicron Killer (2024). © Dark Knites Entertainment.

The Omicron Killer can be beaten with a Corona. Although Coors, who once advertised as the shower beer of choice, is seen in the movie, this Covid-inspired slasher flick inspires more rimshot sarcasm than terror. Granted, it manages some mildly amusing shlock. More comical than chilling, this movie hardly holds a candle to other gruesome gore fests. Yet, as an honest attempt to make something with legs, there’s room to appreciate the attempt even if The Omicron Killer stumbles while overreaching.

The story opens with the Covid Killer terrorizing New York City. Within a minute, however, he’s killed by a cop masquerading as the murderer’s next victim. Flashforward, the Copycat Covid Killer impales that heroic detective in his sleep. Walking away victorious, the slasher is wounded by muggers foolish enough to mess with a homicidal juggernaut. While in the hospital, the silent mountain is mistreated until finally fed up, he begins killing everyone in sight. His bloody brutality bathes the city in blood inspiring the media to dub him The Omicron Killer. All the while, police are scrambling to stop this fresh nightmare as well as other brewing abominations.

Bai Ling, Jeff Knite, Lynn Lowry, Felissa Rose, Dave Street, Amy Puchini, Imani Gold, Rob Emmer, Deborah Louise Ortiz, Chris Guttadaro, Johnn Careccia, Richard Bernstein, Gabriel Ricardez, as various characters in The Omicron Killer (2024). Poster. © Dark Knites Entertainment. Movie poster featuring several characters from the low budget slasher flick The Omicron Killer.
Bai Ling, Jeff Knite, Lynn Lowry, Felissa Rose, Dave Street, Amy Puchini, Imani Gold, Rob Emmer, Deborah Louise Ortiz, Chris Guttadaro, Johnn Careccia, Richard Bernstein, Gabriel Ricardez, as various characters in The Omicron Killer (2024). Poster. © Dark Knites Entertainment.

The messy beginning is partially because The Omicron Killer is a sequel. The rushed recap is basically trying to catch up any audience members unfamiliar with the first film. Unfortunately, it’s a tad more confusing than illuminating. Granted, starting with The Omicron Killer is like jumping into book two of a series, but the movie acts as if anyone watching is already aware of at least the gist of the previous installment. The problem is the opening to The Omicron Killer feels less like a continuation and more like two different movies trying to start at the same time.

In a press release for the film, writer-director Jeff Knite expressed a desire to build a cinematic universe. Apparently, he’s conceived of several interconnected horror ideas. The desire to branch out from The Omicron Killer, however, results in the overall narrative feeling a tad muddled. The film includes a psychotic clown attacking the titular villain in a dream. There’s a satanic cult hoping to resurrect the dead Covid Killer for reasons. Knite is so busy scattering seeds for future films he often loses focus on the main story.

The Omicron Killer does best when zeroing in on its strengths. Paugh Shadow as the titular villain is an imposing presence, and his glaring eyes have the potential to cut down a tree. It’s not hard to believe he singlehandedly snaps people like dry sticks. His signature implement for slaughter is a crowbar which allows for some bloody, savage looking impaling. Director Knite typically frames shots well enough. And when The Omicron Killer is simply moving the plot forward it chugs along at a reasonable pace.

Felissa Rose and Daved Street as the Necromancer and Father Death in The Omicron Killer (2024). © Dark Knites Entertainment. The Necromancer wearing a hooded red robe and holding a strange book reads in the cemetery, while her acolytes stand nearby.
Felissa Rose as the Necromancer in The Omicron Killer (2024). © Dark Knites Entertainment.

That said, as such gears turn, the main clog in the cogs is dialogue. Several interactions between characters are poorly written. Acting doesn’t help, especially when exchanges are meant to be comedic. Bad jokes blended with poor performances make certain conversations as hilarious as getting hit with a sock full of mud.

Still, there’s a temptation to excuse the eye-rolling awful aspects of The Omicron Killer in the hope that’s the aim. I can’t help having suspicions the film isn’t meant to be taken too seriously. And although that doesn’t make the attempts at comedy any less unfunny, it does explain their presence, particularly a running gag about the Omicron Killer getting incorrectly blamed for befouling a bathroom with the world’s worst bowel movement.

There’s also a quality to the acting that is consistently bad. Maintaining a certain level of terrible almost implies intention. Yet, there are glimmers of the right kind of stock shlock performance. Lynn Lowry as Captain Callahan usually delivers lines with proper authority and the right comedic timing. Her experience starring in cult classics such The Crazies (1973) and Shivers (1975) shows. Felissa Rose as the Necromancer hits the nail on the head. Another horror veteran, best known for Sleepaway Camp (1983) as well as numerous low budget gems, she knows how to expertly serve up dialogue that can’t be taken seriously. Bai Ling, famous for The Crow (1994), is all in as Nurse Nancy, the only person to show the Omicron Killer kindness. It would have been interesting to see more of her character later in the film.

Rod Emmer and Bai Ling as Detective Rod Emmer and Nurse Nancy in The Omicron Killer (2024). © Dark Knites Entertainment. Nurse in pink scrubs and a detective in a long trench coat and fedora idly chatting in a hospital hallway.
Rod Emmer and Bai Ling as Detective Rod Emmer and Nurse Nancy in The Omicron Killer (2024). © Dark Knites Entertainment.

As for horror, The Omicron Killer does its best with a low budget. The most common kill features folks getting impaled with a crowbar and lifted off the ground screaming. It’s bloody, looks realistic in all the right ways, and offers some good gore. However, it gets used so frequently the impact lessens considerably. To be fair, the Omicron Killer strikes in other ways, but none is as memorable.

Furthermore, there’s never much suspense. The goal seems to be an attempt to make the killer sympathetic. Yet, this supposedly nightmarish presence doesn’t inspire much terror. Viewers are more likely sitting in anticipation of the next slaughter which is why the repetitive nature of the crowbar kills is so disappointing. There isn’t any real blood or mayhem to celebrate on screen.

Though there’s nothing terribly amateurish about the film, director Jeff Knite doesn’t really bring anything cinematic to the table. The Omicron Killer looks like any of a dozen low budget fright flicks. Bloody kills and gratuitous nudity don’t do enough to overshadow obvious imperfections. Despite some horror veterans doing their best, a poor script results in terrible dialogue alongside unfunny jokes.

The upside may be that no one is supposed to take this movie all that seriously. Folks who enjoy a few cocktails first may well enjoy sitting with friends, snickering at imperfections in The Omicron Killer. It might even inadvertently inspire one or two to get out a tablet and shoot a better movie. The Omicron Killer won’t satisfy anyone looking for a good horror movie, but it may be the right fit for an evening of beer and a pizza mocking shlock.

Written by Jay Rohr

J. Rohr is a Chicago native with a taste for history and wandering the city at odd hours. In order to deal with the more corrosive aspects of everyday life he writes the blog and makes music in the band Beerfinger. His Twitter babble can be found @JackBlankHSH.

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